October 20, 1980 12:00 PM

In Hollywood them varmints what make movies about Indians and white men on the frontier take a heap of killing, as this throwback demonstrates. In these permissive days, of course, the heroes (Charlton Heston and Brian Keith) swear more, cavort with naked women and fight dirtier. Down deep, though, they’re like Clark Gable in Across the Wide Missouri, Gary Cooper in Unconquered or Spencer Tracy in Northwest Passage—clever, noble, lovable and able to beat up 15 or 20 Indians at a time. (That’s fortunate, since they get into a battle every six or seven minutes.) There is also one of those svelte, sexy young Indian women, Victoria Racimo (of Irish-Filipino descent), who arrives in what looks like designer buckskins and starts nuzzling the white guys. The two main “red men” are Stephen Macht, as the squaw-beating warrior who loses Racimo to Heston and becomes apoplectic, and the old villain, Victor Jory, 77, as a chief. While there are a couple of affecting scenes between Heston and Keith, most of the film—written by Fraser Clarke Heston, the 25-year-old son of guess who—is superficial and preposterous. Only the Jackson Hole, Wyo. location, featuring the Grand Teton Mountains, emerges with reputation enhanced. Too bad both the movie and the mountains can’t be given back to the Indians. (R)

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