Sidney Poitier makes his directorial debut with this revisionist western about Exodusters seeking a better life on the frontier. Set in the late 1860s in the Kansas Territory shortly after the Civil War, a former soldier named Buck leads wagon trains of African Americans from Louisiana to the unsettled territories out west. To ensure safe passage and food for these trains, Buck negotiates with the Native Americans in the area. He pays local tribes, and in return they allow the migrants to kill limited numbers of buffalo to eat, and to pass through their land. But the Exodusters’ wagon trains are being ambushed by Deshay and his murdering posse who were hired by plantation owners to raid the trains and intimidate them into returning South. One day Buck meets an itinerant, jackleg minister named
“Preacher” and the two join forces. Together Buck and the Preacher – along with Buck’s wife Ruth (Ruby Dee) – form a coalition to crush Deshay and his nightrider posse.
–Professor Mia Mask
Before the screening, join us for a film introduction by Professor Mia Mask, Q&A to follow.