Prescott Roe (Harris) kidnaps the half-Indian daughter of drunken showman McCree (Bates). He needs the girl, Velada (Arredondo), to appease his son Talbot (Phoenix), deranged by the death of his wife - Velada's sister. McCree gives chase. Although the late River Phoenix figures large in the movie's advertising, he's actually relegated to a virtually speechless supporting role. Then again, there's a mournful, hallucinatory quality to his scenes, keening for ghosts beside his lover's body. For the rest, writer/director Sam Shepard's Western is a curious throwback to the grubby eccentricities of '70s 'revisionist' oaters, laced with brooding mysticism and the playwright's familiar emotional violence. The film is shot in 'Scope, and there's an awful lot of space here. The landscape is so expansive it seems to have driven its few inhabitants over the edge, into drink or despair. Bates, especially, looks the worse for wear and out of his natural habitat. Harris, however, turns in a fine, dignified performance of an old man's grief. Intriguing, then, but defiantly slow and awkward.
Cast and crew