The Plainsman Review

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Lore of the ol' west, Wild Bill Hickcok (Cooper), with his best girl Calamity Jane (Arthur) by his side, attempts to stop an Indian uprising - a feud that was started by white gun-runners.


Dialogue was never Cecil B. DeMille’s forte, a point perfectly illustrated early on in The Plainsman as Abe Lincoln outlines the post-Civil War destiny of the newly united States before announcing, “I’ve promised to take my wife to the theatre…”

Things perk up considerably when the action heads West in the charismatic, capable hands of Gary Cooper (Wild Bill Hickok) and Jean Arthur (Calamity Jane), and there are some effective battle sequences, but the depiction of the Indians as little more than childish savages — “Red hyenas… hairless coyotes” — could leave a nasty taste in the mouth of the modern viewer.

A few scenes of decent spectacle, but it's not aged well - particularly the racist bits.