After Mabel Normand achieved stardom in slapstick comedies, she started a new career as a legitimate actress in realistic comedy-dramas. "Pinto" is a straight drama with almost no comedy at all, but Normand displays genuine dramatic talent here in a tomboy role which allows her to display her athletic prowess.
In Arizona, Pinto (Normand) is an orphan cowgirl who has been raised by five rancher friends of her deceased father. A wild and fearless rider, Pinto is always on the brink of "breaking her fool neck" in a horseback stunt. To keep her out of danger, Pinto's guardians arrange for her to spend a year in New York City at the home of Pop Audrey: another one of her father's friends, who married a society woman and quit the cowboy life.
Pinto gets lost in New York City, which she had expected to be like her ranch back home only bigger. A nice young man named Bob helps Pinto find her way to the Audrey home; Pinto and Bob are clearly attracted to each other. Pop Audrey is "just folks". He hasn't forgotten his Arizona roots, but his wife is an Eastern snob who snubs Pinto.
Pinto learns that Mrs Audrey has been cheating on her husband with Armand Cassel (played too effeminately by Hallam Cooley). While staging a Wild West show for Pop's Park Avenue friends, Pinto arranges for him to find out about his wife's philandering. Pop and Pinto return to Arizona, without Mrs Audrey... but with Bob, who wants to marry Pinto.
"Pinto" is entertaining, anchored by a fine performance by Mabel Normand in a very physical role. Unfortunately, much of her trick riding and roping stunts are plainly doubled. (In at least one shot, Normand's stunt double is clearly a male.) During the Wild West sequence, Will Rogers shows up briefly to do a lariat trick. Director Victor Schertzinger was one of the very first movie composers; he wrote theme music for silent films as early as 1915. I'll rate "Pinto" 6 points out of 10. Giddy-up!
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