A good TV film. The main characteristic is typical of TV films or mini-series. It is slightly too slow and it concentrates too much on close up shots of characters or faces, and less on action, vast movements that the TV screen cannot capture. The story itself is based on the life of Bill Hicock and Calamity Jane, and of course Buffalo Bill. You can find them in Cody, South Dakota, with the Buffalo Bill museum, but also the Colt Museum and the Indian village Museum. You can visit the reconstituted western village composed of all cabins and houses recuperated everywhere in the west, and of course the cemetery with the tombs of Bill Hicock and Calamity Jane and a few others. You also have the rodeo ground and the old western saloon where some wild cowboys regularly organize some real true false holdups and gunfights in the street. This film is a commemoration of this period when the wild west turned into the not so wild west and pretty soon the no longer wild west. The film is trying to show this period and these characters from inside their psyches and it is pretty sure not to become over-sentimental. But it provides us with a picture of that wild west that is rather interesting and definitely human. The other side of the traditional western films with the guns, the fights, and the dishonest settlers or exploiters of settlers. And it is good to have that other vision, particularly with the women, and why they came to the west. But also the nostalgia that inhabited the minds of the pioneers, the trappers, the hunters and also, but far behind in this film, the Indians who were seeing a mode of living, a life style disappearing, and themselves along with it. The shortcoming at this level is that it did not explain enough the new world that was coming out of it, that was emerging.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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