Four stars out of five
The context is of course the American triumph over the Indians. American schools are trying to reorient the Indian children and Wille Boy’s run is the last gasp of Indian resistance. The issue is probably handled more subtly than most films today would. Blake turns in a fine performance, as he occasionally did (e.g., In Cold Blood). Katharine Ross is good as the simple, confused young girlfriend. Redford is also good, but the dialog and situations suggest his character is more coarse and brutal than Redford conveys.
In the end, Willie Boy dons his ancestor’s Ghost Shirt and faces his pursuer. It’s ambiguous if the Ghost Shirt signifies faith or despair or a middle ground of commitment to a doomed way of life. The story is based on fact. The last photo is the actual Willie Boy during an imprisonment.
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