After being betrayed to the law by one of his henchmen, a bandit leader seeks to avenge himself.

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Joseph Singleton ...
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Richard Headrick ...
The Little Feller (as Master Richard Headrick)
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Storyline

Outlaw Black Deering leads a band of desperadoes, but decides to give up the bandit life. Agreeing to go on one last job with his gang, he is captured when his henchman Jordan betrays the gang for the reward. Deering escapes and determines to avenge himself on Jordan. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Western

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15 April 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A vámsorompó  »

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Woman: They may call you Black Deering, but by God, you're white!
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Connections

Featured in Golden Saddles, Silver Spurs (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark and morally complicated western long before the days of Clint Eastwood
27 May 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The idea that westerns were all sweetness and light until the 50s and 60s falls apart when you examine the work of William S. Hart in the 1910s and early 1920s. He aimed for a general realism in his films and often played antiheroes who weren't above thievery, murder, and even rape before they discovered redemption in the second or third act. Of course, these films are also old-fashioned in their sense of old-fashioned religiosity and (usually but not always) passive heroines, but their grittier nature does make them ripe for critical re-evaluation, at least in my opinion.

The Toll Gate (1920) is a fine film, an ideal entryway into Hart's oeuvre. While there's nothing earthshaking from a technical point of view, its morally conflicted protagonist, a bandit leader constantly struggling to abandon the vagabond's life only to be pulled back by economic necessity or the allure of vengeance upon the man who betrayed him to the law, makes the story fascinating. Hart can be wooden at times, but for the most part, he is a restrained but powerful actor. Equaling him is the leading lady Anna Q. Nilsson, who, though stuck in a rather passive role, puts a great deal of subtlety into her character.

Worthwhile viewing and deserves rediscovery.


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