It is 1957. J.C. Cullen is a young man from a small town, with a talent for winning at craps, who leaves for the big city to work as a professional gambler. While there, he breaks the bank ... See full summary »
Wild Bill Hickok, famed lawman and gunman of the Old West, is haunted by his past and his reputation. He is loved by, but cannot love, Calamity Jane. Dogging his trail is young Jack McCall, who blames Bill for abandoning the boy's mother and destroying her life. McCall has sworn to kill Bill, and Bill's ghosts, his failing eyesight, and his fondness for opium may make McCall's task easier. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The whole sequence with the hired gunmen is fiction. Jack McCall worked alone. His reason for killing Wild Bill is disputed but it was thought to be either being embarrassed by Will Bill paying for his breakfast that morning or being paid to do it by gamblers frightened that Wild Bill might become Deadwood's sheriff. See more »
[Voiceover about Hickock]
He fashioned himself as just an ordinary man in no way special. That was adeception. By luck or design it had fallen to him to play the hero's part, and to the end he embraced his fate.
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"The hardest steel is forged in the hottest fires..." The Wild West in the years following The Civil War must've been very close to the West as Walter Hill envisions it here; if not in fact, then most certainly in tone. Life was cheap: pick up any one of the magazines or books devoted to same and take a gander at the bodies on display in storefronts and on boardwalks (or laid out in the sun, or dangling from the limbs of trees). The man who walked away from a gunfight was the man who got there first with the most. He what hesitated, was lost. Jeff Bridges as WILD BILL is a man with a hair-trigger; he HAD to be. (Otherwise, he would've been BELLY-UP BILL, and a lot less interesting.) He literally fights- with fists or with guns- at the drop of a hat. Not the kind of man you take lightly. He drowns his sorrows in booze and pipes and the black and white flashbacks (with the camera canted just enough to suggest an off-kilter dream state) are great. See this one because you like hard-hitting, no-nonsense westerns or because you prefer superior craftsmanship- but SEE it; to miss it would be to pass up one of the finest westerns to ever come thunderin' down the trail.
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