Anon-exploitation title from the Roger Corman shop, “Cheyenne Warrior” flirts with becoming a low-budget female “Dances With Wolves,” but settles in as a respectable, if unexciting, consideration of the difficulties of interracial romance in the Old West. With negligible action or sex, handsomely made pic has few selling points for theatrical situations, unless a way were found to tap the four-wall family audience of the ’70s. Regional playoff commences in Florida today.
Blonde-tressed Kelly Preston plays a pregnant young bride making her way out West with callow Civil War draft dodger hubby Matthew Carver (Charles Powell).
Stopping over at genial Barkley’s (Dan Haggerty) isolated trading post, the couple is vaguely threatened by two Irish outlaws and three Indians who happen by, and Carver proves himself a bad bet for survival on the range when he stupidly rides out to warn the Irish that the Indians are after them; he is murdered for the favor.
After several further killings, Preston’s Rebecca, now alone at the compound, takes in injured young Cheyenne warrior Hawk (Pato Hoffmann) and nurses him back to health. Together, they withstand an attack by some hostile Pawnee, but when Hawk asks Rebecca to join his tribe to have her baby, she declines, deciding to deliver it alone.
Rather too soon after Hawk returns with help just in time to assist in the birth, a very reserved romance blooms between the two, setting the stage for a fairly lengthy to-and-fro about the possibilities of the attractive twosome getting together on a more permanent basis.
Michael B. Druxman’s script takes a ’60s-liberal slant on these matters, but finally heeds the realities of the time and place in forcing the characters to make the hard but only possible decision. Some of the dialogue is awkwardly declamatory, and there are a few clinkers.
Material is ultimately too lean and lacking in dramatic tension, but director Mark Griffiths has put it up onscreen in competent, sober fashion.
Thesping is agreeable without being incisive. Grit, violence and impact are kept strictly within PG range.