A post-Watergate Western reflecting a profound mistrust of the motives of politicians, and framing its story within the ironic cry: 'To the polls, ye sons of freedom!' The small township is shown to be as much a prey to Douglas' ambitious, uptight marshal, bucking for the US Senate, as it is to the man he's tracking down, a 'ruthless' outlaw (Dern, being generously allowed to steal the film). With its picture of America in the making (on the make) - early baseball, carefully conspicuous ads for Bulova and Schlitz, and the ubiquitous photographer recording everything for posterity - the film painstakingly attempts to locate the roots of contemporary malaise. That it doesn't work, as such, is a result of the general naiveté of its reversals of the standard good guy/bad guy format. But what emerges is a likeable Western, pleasantly subversive, crisply photographed, and despite some padding, engagingly put together.
Cast and crew
William S Roberts, Christopher Knopf
Kirk Douglas Bruce Dern Bo Hopkins James Stacy Luke Askew David Canary Alfonso Arau Katharine Woodville