Beautifully made...even though it is complete crap.
This is an exceptionally well made and moving film from 1918...and it's also complete crap. Let me explain. As far as the production values go--the acting, the locale, the action--it's great. But the story, while VERY moving, is also completely fabricated and passed off as fact by a very unreliable source. Al Jennings, who starred in and produced the film, was a real life outlaw in the old west. However, after robbing trains and banks, he somehow got his sentence in prison commuted and even eventually got a full presidential pardon! Once released, Jennings became a popular speaker, evangelist and writer--with his life being serialized in "The Saturday Evening Post". The only problem with this was that Jennings was also a habitual liar who played VERY fast and loose with the facts. The story in this film of him and his brother helping a destitute woman is pure hogwash and perpetuates the myth of the 'good bandit'--like Jesse James (who was a murderer) and other modern Robin Hoods. No, Jennings was not the type to rob from the rich and give to the poor--he robbed from the rich and gave very amply to himself! Now if you can ignore that the film is pure bunk, then you'll also find that it's very entertaining and amazingly well done for its time. Well worth seeing--just don't make the mistake of thinking it's fact-based...it ain't.
By the way, the child in this film, Ben Alexander, later went on to be Joe Friday's partner on the original TV "Dragnet" series (in the 1950s). Also, Al and Frank Jennings actually played themselves in this film!
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