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The government will grant a fringe of terrain for the settlers who want to live and work there. The starting sign will be a gunshot which will iniciate the run for the best fields and claims. Written by
"Tumbleweeds" is a classic of the silent era. It marked the final film in the career of western movie pioneer William S. Hart.
The plot revolves around the Cherokee Land Rush of 1889 Oklahoma where a large tract of land was thrown open to the public for the taking by the American government.
Don Carver (Hart) and his pal Kentucky Rose (Lucien Littlefield) had been earning their living as "tumbleweeds", another name for drifting cowpokes. When the last roundup is completed, they decide to take part in the land rush. Carver meets up with the charming Molly Lassiter (Barbara Bedford) after having had an altercation with her half brother Noll (J. Gordon Russell). Noll teams up with Bill Freel (Richard R. Neill) to acquire a choice ranch section by any means necessary. Turns out that Carver has his sights set on the same ranch which he wants to get for Molly.
The highlight of the film is of course, the land rush sequence. It is marvelously staged by Directors King Baggot and Hart himself. A cast of thousands was employed. A remarkable piece of film making for this or any other time.
The version of the film that is usually shown these days is the 1939 re-issue which had sound effects added, as well as a moving prologue filmed especially for this version. It features Hart coming out of retirement and describing the film and then talking about his career and in effect saying goodbye to all of his fans. He had left films after "Tumbleweeds" following a dispute with the film's distributor.
Hart had always insisted on realism in his films. This had worked in his early films but in the 20s, he had to compete with the more popular films of the flamboyant Tom Mix. He had reached his 60s by this time so he wisely decided to go out on top.
Ohh...the thrill of it all!
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