Right after western star Clint Eastwood first directed himself in PLAY MISTY FOR ME, but before he directed his first western with THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, Sidney Poitier beat him to it with BUCK AND THE PREACHER (1972). It was his first time directing a movie and first time leading a western (though he’d been in DUEL AT DIABLO).
Much like POSSE will have to do 21 years later, BUCK AND THE PREACHER starts out by establishing that yes, silly head, there were Black people in the old west. This history is communicated visually by showing the film’s characters in sepia tone photos. The story takes place after the civil war, when some former slaves decided sharecropping was just slavery 2.0 and tried their luck traveling west to find, as a title card puts it, “new frontiers where they could be free at last.” Where the western genre comes in is that “they placed their hopes in the hands of the few black wagonmasters that knew the territories of the West.” (read the rest of this shit…)