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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hart to Heart

4/10
Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
11 June 2008

William S. Hart (as Jim Treen), the most eligible bachelor in Canyon City, is finally getting hitched, to pretty blonde waitress Leona Hutton (as Molly Stewart). His fiancée doesn't know it, but Mr. Hart is secretly the western town's "Most Wanted" bandit. However, Hart is planning to go straight, due to his marriage plans. Unfortunately, Ms. Hutton discovers Hart's secret stash, whilst cleaning up his untidy cabin; so, she calls off the wedding. Next, Hutton succumbs to the charms of mining swindler Frank Borzage (as W. Sloane Carey).

Serviceable entertainment from superstar Hart; he was ranked no less than #1 at the box office, by Quigley Publications, for the years 1915 and 1916 (ahead of Mary Pickford). The principles perform capably. Later on, Frank Borzage was quite a director; and Leona Hutton, a suicide...

**** A Knight of the Trails (8/20/15) William S. Hart ~ William S. Hart, Leona Hutton, Frank Borzage

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hart's Good Badman

Author: Cineanalyst
31 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a basic two-reel western for William S. Hart, where his formula and craft were refined after the production of his two initial features "The Bargain" (1914) and "On the Night Stage" (1915). Perhaps the screen's first cowboy star, 'Broncho Billy' Anderson provided the prototype of the good badman, but Hart clearly expands upon that initial conception, with the aid of better production values and a tendency for closer viewpoints at Inceville, as well as Hart's superior screen presence and theatrical training. In "Knight of the Trail", Hart plays a good badman, a bandit whose regeneration is spurred by his engagement to a good woman. There's a chase, where, of course, Hart knows a short cut.

In this particular short, I liked the near match cut from Hart tearing down a wanted sign from a tree to a scene in a saloon of another of the wanted signs being posted. There are also a couple strange letters in this one: Hart writes the sheriff a letter explaining that he's quit being a bandit and is returning what he's stolen, and the real baddie of the picture (supposedly played by would-be-director Frank Borzage, although I couldn't tell) inexplicably leaves a note admitting that he's stolen money and is leaving town. He engages the woman after she leaves Hart, steals her life savings, but waits until their wedding day (when they'll be anxious to know his whereabouts immediately) to flea town--he tops off his stupidity by explaining his plan in a letter he purposefully leaves to be found. How could Hart not save the day? Regardless, it's a quick paced short with action.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A well told tale

7/10
Author: boblipton from New York City
26 March 2002

THE KNIGHT OF THE TRAIL is an early William S. Hart picture, in which all the usual elements of his pictures are present. Sparse, filled with excellent, underplayed acting -- Frank Borzage, who went on to become a great director, plays the villain here -- and a straightforward story line, this is an excellent introduction to the silent western for someone without enough patience to sit through TUMBLEWEEDS at one showing.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Early Westerns

6/10
Author: FerdinandVonGalitzien (FerdinandVonGalitzien@gmail.com) from Galiza
5 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Herr Jim is a tough and serious cowboy with an obscure past ( he was a robber and a thief ) but his fiancée, Molly, a dreamy girl, doesn't know that. In the town there is a poster announcing a great reward for a dangerous bandit but, as with Damen Molly, the townsfolk don't know that.... Herr Jim is the bandit!! Damen Molly is a dreamer but not a fool, so while she cleans Jim's untidy cabin, she discovers who her fiancée really is when she finds his loot hidden in the floor. In spite of Jim's promises that he will give back his illegal proceeds, she breaks the engagement; and this time Damen Molly is not just a dreamer but a fool too, because she decides to exchange fiancées and be engaged to Herr Bill, a fortune-hunter who robs her savings and leaves her alone at the altar on the day of their wedding. Thanks to Jim's abilities and his rapid horse, the story will end in a proper way for its different characters.

"A Knight Of The Trails", directed by and starring the great Herr William S. Hart, is a film production that combines the well-known characteristics of his westerns, that is to say, these early two-reel films are careful recreations of Western sets and costumes, and Herr Hart was very fond of the good-bad man character with an obscure past but good intentions who finally redeems himself: effectiveness and conciseness, that's the great achievement of Herr Hart's film productions. This German Count wishes to emphasize a curiosity in "A Knight Of The Trails", that is, Bill's character is performed by the great American director Herr Frank Borzage during his early career as a not-good actor of the 1910's.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must return to the West: West Germany, natürlich!

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Whatever Happened to Leona Hutton?.....

8/10
Author: kidboots from Australia
26 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

.....she was gorgeous, so lovely. Although she made a couple of films with William S. Hart, they were shorts as were most of her films and her career was over by 1916.

In "A Knight of the Trails" she is Molly, fiancée of Jim Treen (Hart), a "road agent" although she has no idea what his exact profession is. When she finds out (tidying up his room, she comes across a loose floorboard and bingo!!!) even though Jim pleads with her (and secretly sends the proceeds of all the robberies to the Sheriff) she breaks it off and turns for comfort to Bill Carey (future director Frank Borzage). But Carey is not who she thinks he is - he is a con man who accidentally happens to see Molly's pretty substantial bank account!! - well, she does own the local "O.K. Café"!! On the eve of her wedding Carey absconds with her savings but Treen is hot on his trail, riding over a perilous mountain shortcut and, in true Hart tradition, giving the audience some authentic old fashioned fisticuffs before restoring Molly's savings.

Before 1916 feature length films were still seen as a fad - and Hart made his fair share of shorts. In fact this was his last short. It is a solid western that would please Hart's growing legion of fans. As "Moving Picture World" said "even though not a big story and lacking in originality, the work of the players (especially Hart) is excellent".

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Nice Hart short

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
3 March 2010

Knight of the Trail (1915)

*** (out of 4)

Bachelor Jim Treen (William S. Hart) decides to marry a local waitress (Molly Stewart) but before their marriage she learns that he's the bandit the entire town is searching for. She ends up in the arms of another man (Frank Borzage) but what she doesn't know is that he's just planning on stealing all her money. This two-reeler has a downright stupid screenplay that nearly kills the film but there's enough working here to make this worth watching. I'll start with the negative and all the blame must go to the screenplay, which is a pretty routine setting as we just know the girl is going to end up with the loser and the ex is going to have to save the day. The funny thing is that it's not even a minute's worth of screen time that she dumps Hart and ends up with the other guy. The ending is downright cringe worthy as well but I won't spoil it. What does make the film worth seeing are the performances with Hart leading the way. He certainly has no trouble playing this role as he's quite good and believable. I must admit that I find him smiling a tad bit creepy but he has the perfect blank expression on his face that you can't help but enjoy it. Future director Borzage is excellent in the role of the villain and you can't help but imagine people back in the day would hiss at a character like this. Stewart doesn't come off as well but she doesn't hurt the film any. We get a pretty fast climax and some good locations so there's enough here to make this worth viewing.

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