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After the American Civil War, many freed slaves head out West in search of free land and a better life. Former slave and Union Army sergeant Buck becomes a self-employed wagon master to wagon trains of freed slaves heading West. Buck knows the region well and he charges fair wages from the wagon trains employing him. He also has a working relationship with the local Indian tribes that charge trespassing fees from the wagon trains heading West across Indian lands. In return, they allow the settlers to move across Indian territory unhindered and to hunt a few buffalo needed to feed the wagon train settlers. However, not everyone in the region is friendly toward the black settlers traveling West. Owners of Southern plantations, dismayed by the loss of slave manpower that previously worked the plantations for free, hire band of white rogues and outlaws to prevent former black slaves from going West. In order to achieve this aim, the hired bands of rogues attack wagon trains and destroy ... Written by
Opening credits prologue: The Civil War was over and by law the slaves were freed. But when the promise of land and freedom was not honored, many ex-slaves journeyed out of the land of bondage in search of new frontiers where they could be free at last.
They placed their hopes in the hands of the few black wagonmasters that knew the territories of the West.
None of this came easy, for for not only did they have to overcome a hostile wilderness, but nightriders and bounty hunters were hired by persons unknown to hunt them down and turn them back to the fields.
This picture is dedicated to those men, women and children who lie in graves as unmarked as their place in history. See more »
Sidney Poitier made his directorial debut with "Buck and the Preacher", in which he played a wagon-master leading freed slaves across the Old West. The whole time, they have to battle night-riders trying to return them to slavery in Louisiana. But then, Poitier joins up with Harry Belafonte, a reformed thief spreading the Gospel across the Old West, and they figure out a way to protect the freed slaves.
Probably the most important aspect of this movie was that it came out around a time when Hollywood was releasing many blaxploitation movies portraying African-Americans as kick-ass brothers and sisters with hearts of gold. This one focused seriously on a part of black history in the United States, and did a very good job at it. I certainly recommend this movie. Also starring Ruby Dee and Denny Miller (a character actor who appeared twice on "Gilligan's Island").
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