The gross silliness of Heaven’s Gate reminded me to always cast critical eye on even Westerns. They should not get a go-bye simply because I love Westerns, that’d just be goofy. Although goofy is in vogue these days, it’s best to subscribe to the old values. So, when Amazon Prime offers a Western staring Emily Blunt, blonde and beautiful, I’d be seven kinds of a fool not to take a look.
Episode One opens in 1890 with an US ARMY sharpshooter picking off some renegade Indian chief at an incredible distance with the aid of his spotter, a Pawnee scout, Sgt. Eli Whipp. We know it is an incredible distance because we are told in dialogue. No need for visual confirmation in BBC/Amazon Prime Western land; No sir.
Sgt Whipp then rides off to Kansas looking for a reward for years of good service to Uncle Sam. (It should be noted that in American productions like Dances With Wolves and Little Big Man, the Pawnee are the bad-guy Indians.)
Next time we see him he is hanging from a crossbeam in a coral next to a hotel. His crime? Don’t you know it, he’s an Indian. He even admits it after some gibber jabber about a reward. No proof he’s owed a plug nickel, but he’s a Pawnee, don’t forget.
Meanwhile, a stagecoach has arrived with a sole passenger, Lady Cornelia Locke. Seems Lady Cornelia is hot on the trial of some joker who killed her son. She intends to settle his hash once and for all, and to do this she packed trunks full of Paris fashions, and carpetbag full of Yankee greenbacks, but no weapons. A mystery takes root here as to how she will kill the pedicide. She appears not to own a Colt, S&W, Derringer or even a Swiss army knife.
It seems the Pedicide has paid the hotel owner to kill Lady C she has been lured to the middle of 50 miles from who gives a damn. Sgt. Whipp manages to free himself and kill all the would-be killers. Their problem was simple. Rather than pull the smoke wagons and blast away, these jaspers had to talk about it. You find yourself asking yourself, are they paid by the word, or are they on an hourly basis?
Delay, delay, delay. The South Western Airlines of the old West. (Not really Old. The Frontier was closed in 1890. “Here’s your hat and there’s the door. Don’t come back!”) So, then Sgt Whipp reluctantly agrees to accompany Lady C on the homicidal odyssey, as he seeks his reward.
Here is the one big problem I see with this production. The action talks place at a hotel. There is nothing within a hundred miles of the hotel. There never was. It is not a stagecoach relay station. Why is it there? Why did someone haul all the lumber to construct the dump? A hotel with no patrons? I can only conclude the hotel is a metaphor for the story, which is also in the middle of nowhere. More episodes to follow, without me watching.
Some English BBC guy wrote this vapid nonsense. His knowledge of the West hovers between slim and none.