Picks and Pans Review: Tom Horn

updated 07/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/07/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Steve McQueen has a history of getting out of tight spots, from The Great Escape to Papillon, but he is trapped in this one-horse Western. As executive producer and star, McQueen was reportedly attracted to the project by the title character's impressive real-life résumé—Indian tracker, Rough Rider, cavalry scout and Pinkerton detective. Why, then, did screenwriters Thomas McGuane and Bud Shrake concentrate on the last two years of Horn's life? The audience must accept him as "a legend in his own time" with little supporting evidence. Apart from picking off a few cattle rustlers with nifty long-range rifle work, Horn gets by largely on reputation. After a de facto four-year absence from the screen (his Enemy of the People was barely released), McQueen delivers an economical, understated performance, while the Arizona locations and lovely Linda Evans provide some stunning scenery. Still, as directed by William Wiard, this movie is an easy target because it moves so-o-o-o slowly. (R)

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