In 1872, John Henry Clayton (Kiefer Sutherland) retires as a gunfighter and returns to his hometown of Fowler, Wyoming in hope of repairing his relationship with his estranged father, Reverend Clayton (Donald Sutherland). However, he soon learns that the town is in turmoil, as the railroad will be coming through the area and a criminal gang is terrorizing ranchers who refuse to sell their land. John Henry is the only one who can stop them, but his father does not want his son to return to a life of violence.
Based upon Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, the film introduces Cho-Cho, a child survivor of the cataclysmic bombing of Nagasaki at the end of World War II. The daughter of a geisha, Cho-Cho sets her sights on becoming the wife of a brilliant, young American military pilot based in Japan—and she succeeds. Trained as an astronaut, her new husband departs for a mission. Even though he promises to return, Cho-Cho feels she has been left to manufacture hope in the face of despair. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Dead Man is the story of a young man’s journey, both physically and spiritually, into very unfamiliar terrain. William Blake is traveling to the extreme Western frontiers of America sometime in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Lost and badly wounded, he encounters a very odd, outcast Native American – named “Nobody” – who believes Blake is actually the dead English poet of the same name. The story, with Nobody’s help, leads William Blake through situations that are in turn comical and violent. Contrary to his nature, circumstances transform Blake into a hunted outlaw, a killer, and a man whose physical existence is slowly slipping away. Thrown into a world that is cruel and chaotic, his eyes are opened to the fragility that defines the realm of the living. It is as though he passes through the surface of a mirror, and emerges into a previously-unknown world that exists on the other side.