This film captures the spirit and much of the feel of the period. I could not disagree more with Maltin's review. Before he criticizes, he should know of what he speaks. If anything, the movie glosses over the enormous physical and mental demends placed on the people who lived like this--and loved it. What the movie lacks in historical accuracy (in terms of what happened, where and when--costuming is excellent) it more than makes up for in capturing the human element.
Indeed, that is the one area where the film suffers. Had it been longer, there would be more time for character develpment. Heston (Bill Tyler) turns in an excellent performance, but he is almost upstaged by Keith (Henry Prapp.) At the moment, the name of the actor who gives a very fine portrayal of Heavy Eagle escapes me. Considering the limited time avaliable to him, his development of the character is remarkable. One of the great things about the film is that even the villain (Heavy Eagle) comes across as very human. He arouses both revulsion and compassion. One understands him, and, by understanding, is compelled to respect.
Another thing I liked was the protrayal of the aboriginal people: there is no "noble savage" or "bloodthirsty redskin" here. These are people, no more and no less, of a different (and to European eyes, alien) culture. They have human frailties, human strengths, and human dignity. (When they lack dignity, anybody would lack dignity.)
Yes, the film is a little raw-boned, but so were the times and the lives of the people in them. This really shines!