"Each man has a song and this is my song." (Leonard Cohen)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cheyenne Warrior (TV, 1994)

Mr. Hawk falls for Mrs. Travolta

Cheyenne Warrior was a made-for-TV movie of 1994 which aired on Starz! Network and then moved to DVD. It stars Kelly Preston (Mrs. John Travolta) as a pioneer settler woman but she is sadly miscast with her Beverly Hills tan, with modern coiffure and vowels. She is also very “me, me”, and such a self-centered woman was unlikely to have made it on the frontier. Despite the title, the eponymous Cheyenne brave, Hawk (Pato Hoffmann, a Bolivian of Andes Indian blood, who has been in Geronimo: an American Legend, Wild Bill and five episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) is only billed ninth. She refers to him as “Mr. Hawk”.
Mr. Hawk canoodles with Mrs. Carver
The plot is a bit like Winchester ’73 in a way in the sense that a rifle passes from hand to hand, given or stolen, and plays an important part in the story. It’s not a Winchester, though, but a handsome Henry.
The real hero, the Henry
The second-billed Bo Hopkins only appears 70 minutes into the ninety-minute movie and has little more than a cameo. He was hardly a top star but he had been in Westerns, starting in episodes of Gunsmoke, The Virginian and Bonanza and then coming to notice as Crazy Lee in The Wild Bunch – you may remember him in the bank. He was Jumpin’ Joe Joslin in the 1970 Monte Walsh and Billy Doolin in The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang. So he did his Western time and had the CV. However, as I say, he barely appears in this one.
Crazy Lee lives on
There’s a high body count yet much of the movie is strangely static. Most of it takes place at the trading post. A couple of lowlifes, one with a fake Oirish accent, want the rifle and get killed (Clint Howard and Rick Dean) and the trading post manager Barkley (Dan Haggerty, Grizzly Adams) no sooner establishes himself as a sympathetic character than he is murdered too. Rebecca’s husband is also an early victim (and thus loser of the Henry). Mind, he is so plain dumb that it is a wonder that he got that far West in the first place. In fact, the stupidity quotient of so many whites on the frontier was amazingly high and one wonders how many of them remembered to breathe.
There are some good Pawnee bad guys and I especially liked their leader with a handprint on his face but sadly Rebecca both stabs and shoots him, which seems a little like overkill but there we are.
I don’t know where it was filmed but the Cheyenne lands are rather nice.
Cheyenne lands
Like many of these TV movies, everything is too clean, the actors all have perfect teeth, modern cosmetics and they all are evidently wearing costumes. The plot is pretty predictable and well, it’s all a bit ho-hum.

Still, it’s a Western and you could watch it, I suppose.


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