The Far West, the late 1800's: Since Yellow Hand (Mirko Ellis) has been
made temporary chieftain of the Sioux, the tribe is on the warpath again,
especially closing in on Fort Adams, which is led by Colonel Peterson
(Roldano Lupi), himself neither a diplomat nor a friend of the red man.
Buffalo Bill (Gordon Scott) tries to mediate and is given a bit of a line
when White Fox (Feodor Chaliapin jr), the original chieftain of the Sioux
and a personal friend of his, returns to take over again. Bill soon finds
out the Sioux are provided arms from ... well, someone, and at first a
local ruffian, Big Sam, is the main suspect. Actually, guns for the
Indians are found in his general store and he is arrested, but flees
arrest and tries to track down the real culprits on his own - and gets a
bullet for it.
The real culprits are saloon owner Munroe (Jan Hendriks)
and his second-in-command Red (Piero Lulli), who now try to do everything
in their power to kill Bill ... but no such luck, so they kidnap White
Fox's daughter Silver Moon Ray (Catherine Ribeiro) and try to blame it on
the army. Bill though is quick to track down and free Silver Moon Ray -
and kill Red in the process. But when he learns that Munroe is behind the
weapon deals with the Sioux, he has already made his getaway ... but is
shot dead by Yellow Hand, to whom he's of no further use since being a
The Sioux attack Fort Adams, and while not wholly successful
in defeating the white man as such, they take Colonel Peterson's daughter
Mary (Ingeborg Schöner) prisoner, whom they under Yellow Hand's
influence, want to burn to death ... when Buffalo Bill arrives to return
Silver Moon Ray to her father.
The whole Indian war is finally decided
by a one-on-one knifefight between Buffalo Bill and Yellow Hand ... and of
course, Bill defeats Yellow Hand, but he magnanimously lets him live ...
it comes to mass-produced genre movies, peplums (basically sword and
sandal movies starring musclemen) reigned supreme in early 1960's Italy -
but they had run their turn around the mid-1960's, and taking a page from
the popular German Winnetou-movies,
the Italians started to experiment with the Western genre - and eventually
hit it big with A Fistful of
Dollars, a film that would revolutionize the genre as such and
turn Italy into the prime Western supplier of the 1960's.
Bill, Hero of the Far West, even though released later, is much more
of a transitional Western than A
Fistful of Dollars: With Gordon Scott it stars one of the
peplum stars (even though he never appears topless in this one), and it
also adheres the same oversimplified good vs evil dichotomy, while it
shares many motives with the Winnetou-series
(like the white scout mediator between white men and Indians, and white
men fanning Indian wars for their own benefit). On the other hand, the
excessive violent of the best spaghetti Westerns as well as their moral
ambiguity are virtually absent here.
But what does this say about the
movie as such?
Not much of course: Taken by its own merits, Buffalo
Bill, Hero of the Far West actually hasn't much to offer to get
excited about, it's a Western in the tradition of the Winnetou-movies
and the American B Westerns without ever reaching the heights of the top
of the crop, a rather routine movie that, while not being bad in the true
sense of the word, hasn't all that much to offer, either.