With just a little more effort, Once Upon a Time in Deadwood would have made a dynamite soft-core porn movie. There’s lots of nature photography featuring waterfalls, and bubbling brooks, comely women, and studly men riding horseback across the Old West in slow motion. Everyone looks like they were plucked right from the pages of the L.L. Bean catalog. But alas, Once Upon a Time in Deadwood is a forgettable snoozer about vigilante justice, 1880s-style.
“…Ursula…ventured west to the Dakota Territory in search of a killer-for-hire known only as The Colonel…”
This movie would have been a great Bo Derek vehicle back in her Bolero days. Instead, we get Karin Brauns as Ursula, a woman of indeterminate origin who has ventured west to the Dakota Territory in search of a killer-for-hire known only as The Colonel (Robert Bronzi). Ursula hoodwinks The Colonel into helping her locate her sister and servant girl, both of whom have been kidnapped by a gang of unruly outlaws (led by Michael Paré, of Eddie and the Cruisers fame –hanging precariously onto his career).
Brauns is an angelic-looking actress who would love to pass herself off as a feminist prairie princess in the Calamity Jane mold, yet doesn’t convince much beyond the capacity of an Ivory Snow model. It doesn’t help, of course, that her billowing blond hair is primed for a Pantene commercial, and her perfect skin looks like it was endorsed by Dove. Furthermore, director-cinematographer-editor Rene Perez insists on filming Brauns in slow motion on horseback as she glides over the plains like a 1880s Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
"…too tame to be soft-core Skinemax..."