In many ways this is a standard story for Griffith, since its point is that people should be left alone, not subject to the whims of authority. In this case, authority casts a lecherous eye upon Dorothy West, but she will not give way, so she and her mother are found guilty of being witches. Happily, trapper Henry Walthall and his Indian buddies rescue her.
Griffith has pretty much settled on his methods of cross-cutting of simultaneous action to increase tension -- in this case they're getting ready to burn Dorothy at the stake for being a witch while Henry is rousing the Indians and leading them to her rescue. But he also visibly compresses time for maximum effect, and it becomes a tad bizarre. That's what happens when you're experimenting with techniques towards regularizing cinema's grammar: you try something and it doesn't necessarily work.
Walthall and West are a bit overwrought. Walthall would visibly improve shortly, but Miss West would eventually be relegated to supporting roles.
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