Frank Perry in Doc attempts to remove the encrustations of myth and fantasy over the rough-hewn facts and persons of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Kate Elder and Tombstone.
Stacy Keach, Faye Dunaway and Harris Yulin star in good performances which may shock the naive, outrage the super-patriotic, offend those who prefer the cliches of the American West, but satisfy the well-adjusted.
Perry takes care to explore the reality of the situations, to recreate an earthy environment, and then to depict acts and events which, in their own time and morality, made sense. In order to achieve this, the first reel is as delicate as a kick in the groin; once over that pain the rest of the story evolves smoothly.
Earp (Yulin) emerges as a shifty politician of flexible motivation, by today’s cynical standards a model pragmatic man of public life. His relationship with Holliday (Keach) has undertones left to the imagination (when little else is). Dunaway shakes her fashion-model fragility to become a believable frontier woman.