The story, adapted by Dalton Trumbo from Joseph Kessel's novel, is a good and suitably emblematic one about a champion Afghan horseman and the famous last-of-the-line stallion who undertake a perilous journey to regain the honour the man feels he has lost after his defeat in the ceremonial game of Buzkashi. On the journey he loses a leg, is confronted by his groom and an untouchable woman who want to kill him, meets a blind scribe who tells him the tale of his blindness, and a nomad who fights his scraggy one-horned sheep against a champion ram. Each encounter contains within it the seeds of his own predicament, from which a moral can be drawn. Sadly, the whole thing comes grindingly to grief on compromise (not least the absurdities of Hollywood stars speaking pidgin and rubbing shoulders with genuine Afghan extras). Some good things survive: the Afghan landscape, the horse-riders (including Sharif's double), and Palance (the only actor who seems to know what it's all about).