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Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Western  |  24 June 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 2,897 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 25 critic

A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show.



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Title: Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Star (William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody)
The Producer (Nate Salisbury)
The Publicist (Maj. John Burke)
The Relative (Ed Goodman)
The Journalist (Prentiss Ingraham) (as Allan Nicholls)
The Sure Shot's Manager (Frank Butler)
The Wrangler (Oswald Dart) (as Robert Doqui)
Mike Kaplan ...
The Treasurer (Jules Keen)
The Bartender (Crutch)
Bonnie Leaders ...
The Mezzo-Contralto (Margaret)
Noelle Rogers ...
The Lyric-Coloratura (Lucille DuCharme)
The Lyric-Soprano (Nina Cavallini)
The Indian Agent (McLaughlin)
Frank Kaquitts ...
The Indian (Sitting Bull)


Buffalo Bill plans to put on his own Wild West sideshow, and Chief Sitting Bull has agreed to appear in it. However, Sitting Bull has his own hidden agenda, involving the President and General Custer. Written by Jonathan Broxton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Western


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buffalo Bill and the Indians  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1979) | (video release)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although set in Wyoming, the movie was made mostly in Alberta, Canada. The production crew bulldozed a remote field and constructed a full-sized copy of William F. Cody's outdoor theater complex. See more »


Another flag with 48 stars is seen just prior to the Presidential scene. In the scene where Buffalo Bill plays for the President, the Presidential booth is adorned with 2 flags, each with 48 stars. The 48 star flag became the official flag in 1912. See more »


William F. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody: Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Robert Altman's Absolutely Unique and Heroic Enterprise of Inimitable Lustrel See more »


Referenced in Sneak Previews: The Best and Worst Films of 1976 (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Altman's Take on the Wild West
31 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A very weak Altman film, all the weaker because it came out the year after one of Altman's best works: "Nashville." "Buffalo Bill..." is one of the most savagely satiric films from a director known for savage satire. Unfortunately, it's also a one-joke film, whose joke is given away in the first five minutes, leaving the film nowhere to go. Paul Newman plays Buffalo Bill as a complete buffoon, surrounded by yes-men and lackeys. He practically buys ex-Indian chief Sitting Bull for his Wild West show, and what we suffer through is scene after scene of white men making asses of themselves while native American Indians nobly and quietly observe and judge them. It's two hours of smug finger pointing at oblivious Caucasians for raping and pillaging the American frontier.

All of Altman's films have the feel of coming together in the editing room, and many times this approach to structure results in inspired moments, but "Buffalo Bill" feels even more than usual like a film without a center. There's no narrative thread to hold it together, so it has a wandering and monotonous quality. Also, it doesn't help that Altman's shooting style is uncharacteristically distant. There are virtually no close-ups in the entire picture, so scene after scene is photographed in medium and long shots. Both the screenplay and the camera keep us at a distance; as a result, we never become engaged in the action.

A definitive misfire.

Grade: C

21 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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