Sidney Poitier made his directing debut with this 1972 action comedy with an edge to it. Made at the height of the Black Power movement in America, the film has an unmistakable militancy in its story of a wagon-train guide and a con man who team up to throw a posse of white nightriders off the trail of escaped slaves. Poitier has never been a distinctive filmmaker, and Buck and the Preacher certainly doesn't indicate any early signs of raw talent that later went undeveloped. But the film's energy and sense of fun, hand in hand with the suggestively political zing, make it watchable. --Tom Keogh
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