The Plainsman (1936)
This lavish epic tells the story of how Wild Bill Hickok stopped John Latimir from selling weapons to the Cheyenne. Help and hindrance arrives in the form of Lincoln, Calamity Jane, George Custer, and Buffalo Bill.
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Critic Reviews for The Plainsman
There's good rapport between Cooper as Wild Bill and Jean Arthur as Calamity Jane in DeMille's lavish historical spectacle.
Audience Reviews for The Plainsman
DeMille attempts his standard epic story. Like the opening text states, which scrolls by similarly to Star Wars' opening, the story plays loosely with history in order to condense events and characters that "conquered" the west. It is full of themes of Manifest Destiny, "wild" white men who decimate supposedly savage Native Americans to make the west safe for fragile homemaking women, or even the tom-boyish types like Calamity Jane. The stars Cooper as Wild Bill Hickok and Arthur as Calamity Jane are both likeable, but have had better roles elsewhere. Ellison as Buffalo Bill Cody (let me tell you, it is confusing with two characters named Bill!) was an unknown to me. He does an acceptable job standing eye to eye with the 6' 3" Cooper. Bickford as a John Latimer pulls off a somewhat menacing villain. I didn't like the racist portrayal of the Native Americans. I liked how both frontiersmen, both Bills, had the skills for tracking and killing because they were veterans of the Civil War and yet they were "long-hairs" who couldn't fit in in civilization. Yet, I don't think this movie explored those themes enough.More
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