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Buck and the Preacher (1972)

A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West.

Directors:

Sidney Poitier, Joseph Sargent (uncredited)

Writers:

Ernest Kinoy (screenplay), Ernest Kinoy (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Poitier ... Buck
Harry Belafonte ... Preacher
Ruby Dee ... Ruth
Cameron Mitchell ... Deshay
Denny Miller ... Floyd
Nita Talbot ... Madam Esther
John Kelly John Kelly ... Sheriff
Tony Brubaker ... Headman
Bobby Johnson Bobby Johnson ... Man Who is Shot
James McEachin ... Kingston
Clarence Muse ... Cudjo
Lynn Hamilton ... Sarah
Doug Johnson Doug Johnson ... Sam
Errol John Errol John ... Joshua
Kenneth Menard ... Little Henry (as Ken Menard)
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Storyline

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 nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The fight was against the raiders... but the feud was between themselves! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 1972 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Weg der Verdammten See more »

Filming Locations:

Marysville, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ruby Dee played the wife of Sidney Poitier's character (Buck) just as she had done in Edge of the City (1957) and A Raisin in the Sun (1961). See more »

Goofs

When Buck ate part of Belafonte's rabbit, the meat was white. Wild rabbits don't have white meat, only dark. See more »

Quotes

Buck: [Charges into the gambling room, kicks down the door, and shoots the men with his double barrel pistols shouting] I'm Buck!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Featured in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A well-done movie about an often ignored subject.
14 November 2003 | by mikeydrewSee all my reviews

Buck and the Preacher was the first movie I ever saw about the black experience after the civil war that was centered on their migration west. I've seen this movie three times since it was originally shown, and have enjoyed it as much each time, while Buck, a no-nonsense Wagon Master played by Sidney Poitier takes his responsibilities very seriously. Naive ex-slaves are putting their very lives and fortunes in his hands in their attempt to find the American Dream after slavery. A subtly that many non-blacks do not understand about the relationship of blacks with each other is the historical mistrust and scheming that happens within the culture and still goes on today. That is what makes the meeting of Buck with the Preacher, played by Harry Belafonte Jr. so poignant. They are at opposite ends of the cultural trust scale, but they are forced to team up against a common enemy to secure their individual survival.

The Preacher, shiftless and scheming, and the only stereotypical character in the movie, is very well known to blacks, and not really as funny to blacks as non-blacks may sometimes think.

Buck and the Preacher was one of the first modern movies about black people to provide any depth to the characters, and also to present characters and subject matter that are not normally associated with the black experience. I found it entertaining as well as informative. A well-done move about an often ignored subject.


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