The Battle of Bloody Stones (1967)
Preventing the Massacre of Cimarron
Wildcat Gallagher (Gene Evans) and his Wild West show are in town and Wildcat's tales of battles with the Indians is stirring things up in town especially when some local Indian's take exception to his distorted version of events at the battle of Bloody Stones. When a young Indian ends up brutally beaten up and then dies thanks to some of the men from the show riling up some of the town's residents it causes a headache for Marshal Crown (Stuart Whitman) who knows that unless he sorts things out with the Indian's father, Chief Ghost Wolf (Henry Wilcoxon), will be looking to avenge his son's death with the Gallagher being the target of his vengeance.
For those who don't know "The Battle of Bloody Stones" was part of "Cimarron Strip" a western TV series which ran for 23 episodes during 1967 and 1968. Nowadays these episodes frequently get shown as individual movies here in the UK and despite being part of a series work well individually as each episode featured a self contained storyline and very little in the way of subplots which continued across the series.
Now "The Battle of Bloody Stones" is an interesting western because right at the heart of this drama is the subject of racism with Jim Crown in the middle of it. On one hand he has Gallagher and his men inciting trouble between the locals and the Native Americans who frequent their town. On the other hand we have the Native Americans who Jim knows will be looking to avenge the murder of one of their young men and who dislike that history is distorted when it comes to battles they were part of. And then there is Jim who whilst not one to cause trouble doesn't help in the way he tries to keep peace. It is certainly an interesting and in some ways daring in tackling such a subject matter in a head on manner.
Of course we are talking western and so whilst it explores the subject of racism it features plenty of typical western cliches which hold this back rather than allowing it to become exceptional in its exploration of hard hitting themes. It means it works for those who want western entertainment but also those who are interested in westerns which try to be a bit deeper.
What this all boils down to is that "The Battle of Bloody Stones" is actually an above average little western with an interesting exploration of the racism of the west done in a very in your face manner but still maintaining the aspect of being entertainment.
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