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

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.



(suggested by the play "Indians" by), (screen story) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Journalist (Prentiss Ingraham) (as Allan Nicholls)
The Sure Shot's Manager (Frank Butler)
The Wrangler (Oswald Dart) (as Robert Doqui)
The Treasurer (Jules Keen)
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 <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

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)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (1979) | (video release)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


First of two films that Paul Newman made with Director Robert Altman. The second being Quintet (1979). 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: Remember, son, the last thing that a man wants to do is the last thing he does.
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

Interesting, like all Altman films, but not his best.
11 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

This movie is certainly worth watching if you're an Altman fan, or a fan of revisionist Westerns. The performances are great (as per usual when Altman is at the helm) and the movie is entertaining enough on its own merits.

The two biggest flaws, though, are these: Compared to most of Altman's films, much of the dialogue in this movie is very "stagy" and theatrical. I suppose it's supposed to be that way because of the questions of "myth" and "legend" that the story concerns itself with, but my impression was that such theatrical-sounding dialogue didn't mesh well with Altman's typically naturalistic style of filming.

The other problem I had is that the whole subject matter -- myth vs. reality, history vs. reality, show business vs. reality, etc. -- isn't really explored with any depth or subtlety. We're constantly being reminded that Buffalo Bill is a man who created his own legend out of lies, and that that is the basis of modern show business to this day, but really, that just didn't strike me as being a particularly insightful observation. This is hardly the first movie to point out that lies are often more "real" (or more attractive) than the truth, and Altman doesn't seem to bring anything new to the table.

Still, it's Altman, which means it's well-made, entertaining and beautiful to look at. I don't think this will ever be considered one of his major works but it's certainly worth a look.

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