This is certainly by no means an all-time favorite movie of mine, but it's an excellent little flick nevertheless -- especially considering that it was made-for-TV, the pilot for the "Kung Fu" TV series. My wife and I just saw it tonight and quite enjoyed it. At a mere 74 minutes, it's short and sweet, kinda the way I wish more movies would be! It's definitely a Western, as it takes place out West in the late 19th century, but it's unique for this genre in that it incorporates Eastern philosophy/wisdom and martial arts -- sorry, no quick-draw shootouts here.
A great scene appears near the beginning wherein Caine walks into a saloon after walking (!!) across a desert to get some water. Naturally some redneck dork wants to start a fight with him 'cause he's one of them "slant-eyes." Three times the guy attempts to attack Caine and three times Caine swiftly and decisively repels the attacks. The guy wisely decides not to attack again as Caine finishes his water and humbly walks out of the saloon leaving the saloon patrons in astonishment.
There's more martial arts action toward the end, but, it should be noted, this is by no means a standard martial arts flick. The movie teaches humility and respect for elders & all fellow human beings.
Despite the fact that they have very little dialogue, Caine develops a close father/son relationship with blind Master Po.
Some scenes have such a reverent and touching quality to them that they actually brought tears to my eyes .
In Brian Garfield's "Western Films" guide he criticized this film as "Juvenile tripe." With all due respect for the brilliant Mr. Garfield, this film is neither juvenile or tripe! As far as Westerns go, it's quite mature and original. Good Eastern-style music too.