In Santa Fe, a Cheyenne woman is arrested on a trumped-up drugs charge. A few hundred miles north, her brother, Buddy Red Bow (Martinez), leaves the land hearings he is contesting for his tribe and sets off to bail her out. By chance, he meets old schoolmate Philbert Bono (Farmer) in his 'war pony', a beat-up '64 Buick. Together, they head down the Powwow Highway. Martinez makes Buddy an urgent, charismatic militant, but the thrust of the movie - like Kiss of the Spider Woman - is to deepen the activist's understanding of his own people and undercut his assumptions of superiority. Farmer's Philbert is a wonderful creation: a huge, lumbering totem-pole of a man whose heart matches his enormous appetite, and whose easygoing nature softens a determination quite as strong as Buddy's. They drive through wintry Montana, Philbert quietly digressing to do homage at spiritual picnic spots, until the open space gives way to 'condo-land' and the end of their quest comes into view. It's an odd, breezy picture, crisply directed by Repo Man producer Wacks; Farmer and Martinez are funny and warm, though their sensitivity is too often swamped by a wailing rock score, and the ideas, finally, are replaced by movie clichés.
Cast and crew
Janet Heaney, Jean Stawarz
A Martinez Gary Farmer Joanelle Nadine Romero Geoff Rivas Roscoe Born Wayne Waterman