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The Buzzard's Shadow (1915) -- Lost Film ?

Author: Pamela Short from Canada
29 June 2015

Sergeant Barnes ( Harold Lockwood ), a U.S. Army scout at a desert post, befriends and falls in love with Alice Corbett ( May Allison ), a widow with a little daughter ( Virginia Fordyce ), who launders and cooks at the post. During a ball celebrating Colonel Sears' ( Dick La Reno ) birthday, Barnes witnesses Dr. Deschamps ( William Stowell ), the Army physician, flirting with Mrs. Sears ( Betty Hart ). After Barnes sees them riding together, he demands that Deschamps resign or face exposure. When Sears sends Barnes on a mission across the desert, Deschamps poisons his horse's sugar, while the half-breed Unitah ( Harry Von Meter ), whom Barnes knocked down for mistreating a horse, follows Barnes and as he sleeps, replaces his canteen water with sand. Driven insane by thirst and the circling buzzards, Barnes wanders until he falls at a railroad track, where he is rescued by a train crew. He finally recovers from amnesia upon seeing the American flag, Barnes wires his post. Deschamps and Unitah flee, but Barnes finds them and a fight ensues, soldiers shoot Unitah and arrest Deschamps. Barnes is honoured for his bravery and happily weds Alice.

This lost 1915 drama was produced by the American Film Manufacturing Company and filmed on location at the San Diego Military Reservation. It starred popular actor Harold Lockwood, along with actress May Allison, the two were often paired together, becoming one of the first celebrated on-screen romantic duos. Sadly this early film remains lost.

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