This offbeat and satirical film – billed as “the first Electric Western” – was co-written by members of America’s ever-so-hip Firesign Theatre and boasts appearances by a whole host of contemporary musicians, including Country Joe and The Fish, The James Gang, Elvin Jones and the New York Rock Ensemble.
Hero Zach (John Rubinstein) sends off for a mail-order gun with illusions of becoming the fastest gun in the West. When he finds out that his goal involves a lot of killing, his heart is uneasy and he sets out on a metaphysical journey.
He checks out the Bad Guy (Elvin Jones), makes it with the Whore, and finally discovers Peace with a non-violent desert rat Wise Man.
His buddy Matthew – Don Johnson of Miami Vice in an early role – who guns down Elvin Jones to become the new Bad Guy, comes to shoot it out with Zach (for no reason at all).
Zach refuses to fight and the two friends ride off into the sunset together.
The fake-front sets look like fake-front sets, and the movie has more anachronisms than you can shake the Dada Manifesto at; the musicians all have amps but everyone rides horses, and instead of square dancing the townspeople frug.
Surrealism isn’t as easy to pull off as it looks and this is the sort of film that the phrase “you’ll either love it or loathe it” might have been specially coined for.
The Firesign Theatre hated it so much they disowned it.
Dick Van Patten