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CHARLES BRONSON IN THE JAWS-CLONE OF 'THE WHITE BUFFALO'

Title: THE WHITE BUFFALO Year: 1977 Rating: ***1/2

Within THE WHITE BUFFALO is a different kind of Western that Charles Bronson and director J. Lee Thompson not only wanted to make, but did... at least halfway through: One where Clint Walker has the kind of vengeful spite to kill main character/real life legend Bill Hickock because of the past he's both dodging and facing... thrust towards the gigantic titular beast that, like JAWS, a trio of contrary men band together to expire...

In particular Native American Will Sampson who, like the other gentle giant actor Walker, have never been so formidable, also portraying a fictionally-set true legend, Crazy Horse, with his own revenge towards the buffalo that killed his child... giving an overboard performance more than a touch of camp. And the always capable Jack Warden is a one-eyed trapper... the Robert Shaw here and, though full of tough dialogue, is rather underused. Then again BUFFALO is Bronson's slowburn ride while that offbeat Indian injects a metaphysical vibe into the otherwise mainstream adventure, with exploitative deaths (like lush Cara Williams with Stuart Whitman as a stagecoach-riding racist just askin' for it) and a grungy-looking tavern shootout despite period-clothing that, like the superior BREAKHEART PASS, seems straight out of wardrobe... Leading to a climax that's more anticipatory than the blunt violence the first half had already disposed of and is, overall, a unique passion-project from its very conception, so there was probably no other choice than for THE WHITE BUFFALO to become a cult film.

Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Kim Novac in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Clint Walker in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO with Jack Warden
Will Sampson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO

Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
A menacing Clint Walker in THE WHITE BUFFALO

Jack Warden in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Martin Kove gives word to Clint Walker in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Will Sampson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Clint Walker in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Clint Walker in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Charles Bronson in THE WHITE BUFFALO
Cara Williams (lived till 96, but not on the stagecoach) from THE WHITE BUFFALO

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