Synopsis by Karl Williams
Writer, director, and star Mario Van Peebles tried to correct historical misconceptions about African-Americans on the frontier with this action-packed western that's also an homage to spaghetti Westerns. During the Spanish-American War, a squadron of black soldiers led by Jesse Lee (Van Peebles) is assigned a dangerous mission behind enemy lines in Cuba by evil Colonel Graham (Billy Zane). Joined by a white gambler, Little J (Stephen Baldwin), the troupe is to recover a chest of gold. Realizing that Graham will slaughter them once they've relinquished the booty, Lee and his men retrieve the chest, wound Graham, and head for home. Ambushed by Graham in New Orleans, the "posse" heads for Lee's hometown of Freemanville, a frontier settlement of ex-slaves. Years ago, Lee's minister father (Robert Hooks) was murdered there by Klansmen, and the gunslinger wants revenge. There's new trouble brewing in Freemanville, however. Sheriff Bates (Richard Jordan), top lawman in neighboring Cutterville, plans to wipe out Freemanville's citizens and sell their lucrative property to a railroad. Then there's Graham, still on Lee's trail.
African-American, Black [race], AWOL (Absent Without Leave), soldier, on-the-run, posse, revenge, sheriff, desert, racism, cowboy