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Writer/director Walter Hill ("48 Hours") presents Wild Bill Hickok (Jeff Bridges) as a moron with a fetish: he'll shoot anyone who touches his hat. Not that he really requires an excuse to ventilate any and all comers. It is just that this is what the man does when he's not repairing to an opium den and losing himself in bad pipe dreams. Or drinking too much. Or resisting the advances of Calamity Jane (Ellen Barkin). "'Wild Bill' is one of the dankest and most claustrophobic westerns ever made," says TIME's Richard Schickel. "It's a movie that deliberately shuts itself off from the clean, redeeming beauty of prairie, mountain and desert, and takes the celebrity metaphor, which is at the heart of most gunfighter westerns, into new realms of darkness and hysteria."