Join the Cult: Where the Buffalo Roam

Victor Angelo De Vasconcelos

Staff Writer

“In my case, you know, I hate to advocate drugs or liquor, violence, insanity to anyone. But in my case, it’s worked.” Before Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas casted Johnny Depp into the role, the tales of Hunter S. Thompson were shown in 1980 as Where the Buffalo Roam casted Bill Murray as the legendary author. A collection of his misadventures starting from his coverage of a drug possession trial and culminating in his coverage of the 1972 presidential campaign; the film is a thrilling ride of wild, gonzo journalism that remains unpredictable every step of the way.

            The story is a loose grouping of scenes and passages ripped out of Thompson’s early works, jumping between books and articles out of order while, somehow, remaining coherent. The greatest accomplishment of the film’s script was authentically portraying Thompson’s persona without the drug frenzied lens and effects of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; keeping the whole story somehow grounded through its most outlandish events.

            Despite a great script and outstanding performances, the rest of the film doesn’t really shine in any other aspect; if the story, dialogue, or characters don’t hook you in, there won’t be much else to appreciate.

            In the end, the film is targeted to one specific audience: fans of Hunter S. Thompson’s works. If you have not been introduced to him yet, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas might be a better first viewing although that is by no means saying Where the Buffalo Roam should be ignored.

Originally Published on Vol.49 Issue 14 on April 29th, 2020