A Romance of the Redwoods (1917)

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A young girl travels west to live with her uncle during the California Gold Rush only to find that he has been killed by Indians and his identity assumed by an outlaw.



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Complete credited cast:
Elliott Dexter ...
'Black' Brown, Road Agent
Sam Sparks
Raymond Hatton ...
Dick Roland
Charles Ogle ...
Jim Lyn
Walter Long ...
Winter Hall ...
John Lawrence, Uncle To Jenny


'Black' Brown, a notorious road agent on the run from the law, stumbles on the body of John Lawrence, an honest prospector during the early years of the California Gold Rush, riddled with Indian arrows. Brown takes the dead man's clothes and papers and is able to pass himself off as a good citizen in 1850's Calaveras County. When Lawrence's sister dies, her daughter spends the little money she has to journey to California and live with her uncle. Arriving at the isolated cabin, she realizes he is an impostor, but his threats intimidate her into silence. Lacking money and protection, she immediately becomes vulnerable to the advances of the largely all-male population, and so must acknowledge Brown publicly as her uncle in order to continue to receive food, shelter, and his protection. Over time, this understanding of mutual convenience turns to affection, and he pledges to reform. When former members of his gang continue their dishonest ways, however, the now rehabilitated Brown falls... Written by G. Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

14 May 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La bête enchaînée  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$134,832 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Most of the $135,000 budget for the film went to pay Mary Pickford's salary -$96,666.67. See more »


Jenny Lawrence: I'd rather take in washin' the rest of my life than let you be a thief.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful silent western directed by Cecil B. DeMille!
9 July 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cecil B. DeMille's "A Romance of the Redwoods" is one of the greatest silent films ever made and one of my personal favorites. DeMille, who had started making films three years prior to this film, gives skillful direction to the whole production. I'm new to the work of the film's star, Mary Pickford, America's Sweetheart, and America's Sweetheart she was and is! Pickford was a very beautiful woman and an extremely good actress; her performance is subtle, endearing and convincing. Elliott Dexter and Charles Ogle are also believable. The story is interesting, poignant and beautiful. There are several humorous moments between Pickford, Dexter and the other characters. The log cabin, redwood forest and outdoor locations make the film all the more authentic. This is a wonderful film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, the best director of all time.

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