Starring: Joseph Cotten, William Shatner, Rosanna Yanni

Director: José Briz Méndez
Released: 1968

Mood: If you simply can’t go another day in life without being able to say that you watched Shatner play TWO LEADS in a Spaghetti Western.


I almost didn’t get to watch White Comanche last night, and that tale has just as good of a plot as this movie.


You see, I find all these old Western DVD sets at thrift stores – you know the type: they show someone like Sam Elliott on the cover to rope you in, but there’s only one mediocre Sam Elliott movie and a bunch of filler crap. Like this:



I somehow never noticed that this particular set, which I’ve probably had for over a year, contained a Western with WILLIAM F*CKING SHATNER as the top-billed actor. And he plays HALF COMANCHE TWIN BROTHERS. It sounded so completely awful that I desperately needed to see it.


But when I went to take it out of the case, the DVD split in half! I always check the discs before buying, so it’s possible that I actually broke it in my eagerness to see Shatner butcher the roles of both Cowboy and ‘Indian’. I thought it was all over for me and my dream of reviewing a Shatner Western, but then I found out the movie is on Roku TV.


If you thought that story had a thin premise, you probably shouldn’t watch White Comanche. 


illustration of a moustache that is curled at the ends


White Comanche is a super low-budget Western filmed in Spain, with an odd assembly of American, Argentinian, Spanish, and other European actors, and a mostly Spanish crew. It’s technically a Spaghetti Western, but it’s completely lacking the piquant zip of the Italian classics.


What is has, though, is a delicious f*ckcing mess of a plot, and acting and production that may be among the worst Westerns of all time. It’s so bad that you really have to see it to believe it.


It’s about two half white, half Comanche twin brothers who apparently hate each other. Johnny Moon (William Shatner) seems to identify more with the white man. Notah (also Shatner) has become a peyote-munching cult leader to the Comanche people, leading raids and doing a lot of raping and pillaging. Both Shatners have shiny waxed chests and super-tight pants.


Johnny is sick of being mistaken for his murderous brother, so he challenges Notah to a duel to the death… which for some reason has to wait four days, and be held in a town neither has ever visited, even though both are armed and could just do it right then and there.


Johnny rides ahead and despite being once again mistaken for a guy who just held up a stagecoach, murdered a bunch of people, and violated a wealthy white woman, he somehow easily brawls his way into Rio Hondo’s town politics. He also saves a guy from a hanging that’s never explained, starts a flirtation with the woman Notah most recently defiled, and is instantly, inexplicably the trusted go-to for Sheriff Logan (Joseph Cotten).


Notah, meanwhile, keeps doing Notah. A lot of stunted-English speeches with a crazed look on his face, which actually works for Shatner.


illustration of a moustache that is curled at the ends


White Comanche is badly dubbed, but the writing is so atrocious that the terrible voice-overs don’t harm the story in the slightest. The plot is just a bunch of Western ideas strung together with no actual purpose, and with Shatner as the orator.


But the dubbing and writing are only mildly low quality compared to the perplexingly awful score. WHY THE F*CK IS THERE JAZZ IN A WESTERN? Composer Jean Ledrut may have been taking Notah’s peyote. We can’t say for sure, because he never scored another movie again.


The ‘effects’ are so bad that you see guys wipe red paint on themselves as they are shot, often by guns that aren’t even pointing in the right direction. On the plus side, they make up for the cheap quality of the action by sheer volume. There is more action in White Comanche than you’d think possible and the chaos of it, with no idea why most of these people were even fighting because it was never explained – that part was entertaining. But I still found the story to be highly illogical.


The final showdown is EXTREMELY CONFUSING because first there’s like ten minutes of the two sides of town shooting it out, and you never did know why they hated each other. I imagine the days on set going something like this: “What’s supposed to happen next?” “I don’t know, let’s throw in another shootout. Get the whole town involved.” “Why are they fighting?” “Who cares? More shooting!”


illustration of a moustache that is curled at the ends


Joseph Cotten seems like a fish out of water as Sheriff Logan. Like somehow this movie was dropped around him and he’s just stuck there on set, trying to get through it. It’s a good performance, but that means nothing in this dumpster fire.


Shatner is actually not the worst thing I’ve ever seen when he’s playing Johnny Moon. You see a lot of Captain Kirk in him when he’s fighting, and he’s really good on his horse, doing his own stunts. There are a couple of scenes where it seems like he’s trying to do a close-up squint, like the popular Spaghetti Westerns, and it’s just laughable.


But you kinda feel like Shatner is in on the joke, like he realized this was hot garbage and leaned into it – as Notah he is overacting the house down, even by Shatnerian standards. It’s so bad there aren’t even words, and that’s coming from someone who literally writes for living. Shatner is actually an amazing horseman who competes to this day, a fact that blew my mind.


The only actor who gives him a run for his money as far as ridiculous melodrama is Rosanna Yanni as Kelly.


The ‘Comanche’ are a bunch of Spanish extras whooping and hollering, and wearing pathetic costumes and what looks like tinted makeup (on top of the obvious wigs, like when White Fawn turns and you can SEE her light hair below the wig!). You could take them all out and just have Notah wandering around thinking he’s a cult leader, and it would make just as much sense and be slightly less offensive. Just slightly, though.


illustration of a moustache that is curled at the ends


White Comanche is one of those movies that’s so completely stupid that you have to see it for yourself. Especially if you’re a fan of Shatner.


It’s badly made, badly written, and most of the acting is bad. And yet, it’s made The Official Razzie Movie Guide’s list of the 100 movies that are so bad they’re good. If you like Shatner, or love to hate Shatner, this is one for the collection.


And whether you watch it or not, treat yourself to a hilarious (and short) review of this movie by ‘Bezenby’ on IMDb, titled ‘Pale Eyes Burning Like Fire’. You will immediately grasp the stupidity of White Comanche.