Released in 1977, "Grayeagle" is a Western about a man (Ben Johnson) whose daughter (Lana Wood) is kidnapped by a Cheyenne brave (Alex Cord). The man teams up with his Native partner (Iron Eyes Cody) and a friend (Jack Elam) to get his daughter back. Along the way they must tangle with a Shoshone hunting party, including a crazy brave named Scar (Jacob Daniels).<br/><br/>While the plot is reminiscent of 1956's "The Searchers," it's different enough to not be a rip-off. "Grayeagle" is not a big-budget Western, like "The Searchers," but I like it better. However, it's not a cheapie either and it genuinely surprised me for a number of reasons. For one, it's not a typical Western; it's just as much a Native American film as it is a cowboy Western; and the Natives are portrayed quite good, considering the time period. Secondly, everything about the film is totally over-the-top, like the acting, the (melo)drama and the blaring score. Speaking of the score, it plays like the bombastic music of the original Star Trek TV series, but updated to the mid-70s and fitted for a Western. It's quite good -- sometimes even moving -- albeit decidedly dated.<br/><br/>The plot similarities to "The Searchers" is interesting in that Lana Wood's sister, Natalie, played the kidnapped girl in that film. Speaking of Lana, she's just gorgeous. You might remember her as Bond girl Plenty O'Toole in 1971's "Diamonds are Forever." <br/><br/>Believe it or not, the annoying, half-crazy character Bugler was played by the director, Charles B. Pierce.<br/><br/>Shot in the Helena National Forest Northeast of Helena, Montana, the landscapes are picturesque.<br/><br/>FINAL WORD: "Grayeagle" is full of gusto and must be respected because the creators gave it their all to entertain the viewer; in fact, I include it on my hallowed "Favorite Westerns" list. However, the film is so overdone that it sometimes borders on ridiculous. So while it's often supremely entertaining the sacred words are fitting: "Just because you like a movie doesn't mean it's good." <br/><br/>The film runs 104 minutes.<br/><br/>GRADE: B
Adventure / Drama
Adventure / Drama
Set in 1848 Montana Territory, a young Cheyenne warrior, who goes by the name Grayeagle, kidnaps the daughter of a grizzled frontier man John Colter who goes on an epic search for his daughter Beth, and is aided by a friendly native, named Standing Bear, as well as Trapper Willis, a fur trapper and trader whom brave the elements of nature as well as hostile native warriors to find Beth and bring her home. At the same time, Beth becomes intrigued by her own captor who has reason for his taking of Beth.
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