Champion Roman racer Dan Malloy falls in love with French Canadian Marie LeFarge, but is accused of killing her father. He evades the law until he wins the Calgary Stampede. He is freed when the real killer is identified.
Dan Malloy (Hoot Gibson) is a stampeder - a professional cowboy and skilled horseman who travels across Canada following the rodeo circuit. He competes in the popular Roman Races or Roman Standing Races where he stands on the backs of two horses like the ancient Romans, one foot on each horse, running full speed around the racetrack in a wild and exciting race against other Roman Race teams. As a Champion Roman Racer, Dan Malloy meets and falls in love with a French Canadian belle, Miss Marie LeFarge (Virginia Brown Faire). But her father (Clark Comstock) dislikes the flamboyant cowboy and stops the deepening romance. The father ends up mysteriously murdered, and Dan Malloy is accused of the crime. The real killer is a drifter and ex-con who has won the heart of LeFarge family's housemaid, a Canadian Indian maiden named Neenah, who keeps him hidden and unknown to the law. Innocent of the crime, Malloy successfully evades the Royal Canadian Mounted Police until he enters the Roman Race... Written by
John A. Bascom
Even though there were rodeos held in Calgary, Alberta as early as 1894 in conjunction with the harvest fair, the first official Calgary Stampede was held in 1912. There was another rodeo in Calgary in 1919 but it was called the Victory Stampede. The second official Calgary Stampede was held in 1923 and has been held ever since. When the Hoot Gibson movie "The Calgary Stampede" was filmed it was during the fourth official Calgary Stampede of 1925. See more »
It's an oft told tale - Dan Malloy, a renown rodeo performer, is in love with Marie LaFarge and she with him, but her father, the game warden in a Canadian national buffalo preserve, is adamant that Marie and Dan not marry because no daughter of his is going to marry a man named "Malloy," presumably because Dan is Irish. Dan and LaFarge have an argument and LaFarge is shot dead. But it wasn't Dan, it was a man named Burgess who LaFarge had imprisoned for poaching. Burgess' girlfriend, Marie's "half-caste" maid witnesses the murder, but says nothing to the Mounty who arrives on the scene. Dan flees to a ranch near Calgary and using the name Chuck Jones, takes a job as an odd job man on the Reagan ranch. A year passes and then a local Mounty becomes suspicious of Dan. As typical in the Hoot Gibson silent films there is a dash of humor and no gunfights. At one point, the Mounty asks "Chuck" "Do much ridin?" He replies "Nope, if I gotta get blisters, I want 'em on my feet." Chuck's boss Reagan has an ongoing friendly dispute with a neighboring rancher named Morton over who has the best Roman racing horses with Morton claiming "I've got a couple of horses that travel faster than gossip." Morton keeps goading Reagan into placing a big bet on the Roman racing event in the forthcoming Calgary Jubilee and Stampede. Foolishly, Reagan ends up betting his ranch on the race. At another event at the Stampede, Reagan's rider is injured and is unable ride. Among the attendees at the Stampede are Marie, Burgess, Burgess' girlfriend and the Mounty Harkness who can identify Chuck Jones as Dan Malloy. Even knowing he will be arrested, Malloy replaces the injured rider and wins the Roman riding event. Fortunately, Burgess had coldly dumped his girlfriend who after the race identifies him as the killer of LaFarge. Aside from the Hoot's boyish charm, what makes this movie special are the early scenes of the buffalo park and the spectacular scenes of the actual events of the Calgary Stampede at the Exhibition Park. During the chuck wagon race there is a horrific accident and it appears that one of the horses was seriously injured or killed (something that evidently somewhat frequently happens at this particular event even today). The Roman race was very exciting and I assume that Hoot, in real life a champion rodeo performer, did the actual riding. A 1919 Calgary Herald report says that "... wild mule roping and standing Roman racing were also crowd favorites." I don't know about mule roping but the Roman racing event was amazing to see. Recommended not only for Hoot Gibson and silent film fans but also for this interested in seeing some early Calgary Stampede film footage.
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