This clearly has the feel of a made for TV movie; you can tell where the commercial breaks would have been inserted as a scene will end and the story picks up again from the same point. It has a sort of Disney feel to it too, with the hero dressed in white and handling a special gun made just for him - "That seventh bullet is for evil". What surprised me as I began to research the film to write this review is that it's over thirty years old, obviously influenced (as many other posters on this board have mentioned) by the success of "Star Wars" and the Obi Wan/Luke Skywalker relationship. It actually took me a while to realize that the film was playing things straight, as there seemed to be a "Blazing Saddles" type of sensibility impinging on some of the situations, like Joshua Brown (Carl Franklin) stealing John Golden's (Jeff Osterhage) boot, only to stop when he realizes Golden's not dead. There's also the traveling snake oil salesman peddling his Blue Nectar, showing up three times by my count with a bargain at a buck a bottle.
But the film seems to capture a certain nostalgia for times gone by for other reviewers on this board, so I'm not going to tarnish that glow. As a family film, this is the kind of picture you can settle down with the kids to watch, and it conveys a theme of good triumphing over evil and doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do. The film even name drops some of the major historical figures of the Old West like Wyatt Earp, Butch and Sundance, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Sitting Bull. Keir Dullea's take on General Custer is a trip in itself, playing it up for all it's worth in order to 'get Grant's goat'.
The thing is, I would never have seen this picture if it hadn't been part of the Encore Western lineup today. I spend a lot of time there, and this was kind of a break from the more traditional black and white stuff of cowboy legend, like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. I can't help but think that watching these Westerns since my youth helped develop some of my own instincts (there's that word) about right and wrong, and every reminder in a film like this just never seems to grow old.