Patty Duke is Sister Dulcina, a Sister of Hope in Sante Fe, New Mexico who hires gunfighter Ben Sunday (Robert Preston) to transport her group of Apache children to Colombine, Colorado where she plans to use the standing church as a school. However when they arrive at Colombine, they see the church has been turned into a saloon by town mayor Jack Brian (Christopher Lloyd), and Sister seeks refuge in a barn until she can work out a plan to repossess the church.
Duke wears a Catholic black and white nun outfit, and Sister Dulcina's `contrary' nature is demonstrated by passive-aggressive clumsiness where she steps on a foot, backhand slaps a face, and messes a mercantile store that refuses to sell to her. She punches a forward drunk in the face at the saloon, and though we see her practice firing a rifle, she doesn't get to shoot anyone. Duke scores laughs from the vow of silence that is imposed on her as Ben's deal to take her low-paying job, but otherwise the drama here is pretty undemanding.
The teleplay by William Norton, based on characters created by Hal Goodman and Larry Klein, is post modern in it's presentation of the Apache as innocents victims, made orphans by the white men who stole their land. Apart from Ben's pearls of wisdom dispensed to his nephew Jason (David Knell), the only thing that passes for humor is Brian referring to Sister Dulcina as a `squirt', a reference to Duke's lack of height, and the expectation of a black gloved person departing a carriage that turns out to be an old woman. Director Don Taylor's treatment is forgettable, and both Lloyd and Sally Kellerman as the Colombine madam Mama Queen seem miscast.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?