Exploring thematic terrain similar to Nashville (1975), Robert Altman and co-writer Alan Rudolph turn Arthur Kopit's play Indians into a blunt indictment of contemporary pop culture and the fallacies of western pop history. The star may perpetuate lies to sell tickets, but the audience buys those tickets and worships the star's "heroic" image, guaranteeing that the lies, and their legacy of Native American abuse, will endure. Altman denies a similar star- worshipping satisfaction to his movie audience, obscuring his own star with facial hair and few close shots (as he did with Warren Beatty in McCabe and Mrs. Miller), even as Paul Newman's presence also lends Buffalo Bill "star quality." Audiences and critics did not look kindly on Altman's schematic critique, ensuring that Buffalo Bill and the Indians' ironic view of American history-making was little seen in its Bicentennial year release.
by Lucia Bozzola review