The Indian Fighter
Now I understand your concerns, Onahti (Elsa Martinelli). And you're right. There are quite a few differences between the two of us. Especially since you're an 'Indian Girl' and I'm a 'White Man'.
But come off it. Deep down inside me I'm a really nice guy. Honestly I am. Didn't you see how I sorted out that mess two days ago? When Wes (Walter Matthau) tried to steal gold from your native homeland! Or what about the day after that? When I arranged for your chief, Red Cloud (Eduard Franz), to sign a peace treaty with the US Army!
Yes. I know I should be with my people now, Onahti. Riding along side them on a wagon train leading to God knows where. Yet I'm not, though, am I? I'm here by your side. Just you and me. You. The love of my life. And me. Johnny Hawks (Kirk
Douglas). The so-called
'Indian Killer' that's dying to plant a sweet-sweet kiss on those sexy-sexy
lips of yours.
Still. That's most probably why what next transpires all kicks off, when Wes and his partner in crime, Chivington (Lon Chaney, Jr.), instigates' a war with your native brethren. As the Indians are coming - a battle starts a humming - a wagon train catches fire - and as the dawn falls over the skies, a man of peace ultimately gets a new squire.
I suppose on the surface 'The Indian Fighter' is very much like many of the other westerns developed during this era. All the lead actors had great presence. Most of the story-line was pretty easy to follow. The production values and camerawork were nice for the time. And all in all -- yeah -- not a bad film -- but not a good film either.
Honestly, dear reader. It did have a somewhat ying / yang approach in setting-up its initial chunk of the tale. One part of it was about Kirk's character flirting with that Indian girl. Another part of it was about Walter's and Lon's characters trying to steal some gold from her people. Yet another part of it was about Anne's character looking for love and companionship. And finally, the whole thing was rounded off in number of sections trying to explain why Native Americans don't always seem to see eye to eye with the 'White Man'.
On the reverse side of this equation, though, there were a couple of things about this flick I quite enjoyed watching. For instance, I got a right kick out of those two scenes where Kirk spoke to Red Cloud and the photographer. Because how I see it, the underlining messing that was conveyed throughout those scenes, was how change doesn't always lead to progress or unity.
Furthermore, I best mention that Kirk, Lon, and Walt, seemed to have a real bond in those few scenes they shared together. In fact, this bond was so apparent on the screen, I would have honestly liked to have seen them together in this picture more than they actually were.
Overall 'The Indian Killer' was a fairly middle of the road western that had a rather bi-polar edge to it. The actors were great, but not all of them. The story was fairly fine, but it could have been better. And at the end of the day I'm sure this is one of those films that'd be amazing if remade in a more careful and focused fashion.
THE RATING: B-