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
When Buck ate part of Belafonte's rabbit, the meat was white. Wild rabbits don't have white meat, only dark. See more »
[Charges into the gambling room, kicks down the door, and shoots the men with his double barrel pistols shouting]
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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 »
I just saw this movie for the first time on Turner Classic Movies tonight. I had heard about it, but missed it. It's just another shoot-'em-up horse opera, but this time with a difference. It's one of the only westerns ever made that is a story about black people in the Old West, with black actors in the lead roles. Harry Belafonte is excellent as the Preacher. Sidney Poitier is also very good, and although the story contains the full compliment of standard cowboy movie clichés---shoot-outs, posse chases, bank robberies, whining ricochet sounds, etc.---, it's very entertaining. The vast majority of Hollywood westerns are exclusively white, and feature virtually no black people at all. Indians are almost always featured as pidgin-speaking cigar-store cartoon characters, with white actors usually in the speaking parts. Some idiot composer came up with the pounding tom-toms, descending minor theme music played by trombones and low brass whenever Indians come into the picture. It's unbelievable how ridiculous this music is. Hollywood has a lot to answer for in its racist treatment of minorities throughout its early history, which has never been fully addressed. So it's great to see a western like Buck and The Preacher that is different. As a result, it's a lot better than your average western, even though it milks the same old clichés.
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