One of the always popular Indian subjects, but novel in that the scene is laid in the colony of Massachusetts, shortly after the landing of the Pilgrims, instead of the Western plains in ... See full summary »

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One of the always popular Indian subjects, but novel in that the scene is laid in the colony of Massachusetts, shortly after the landing of the Pilgrims, instead of the Western plains in the modern day. Onawanda was a member of a small tribe, who regarded as their own the territory north and east of Boston and who resented the intrusion of the white settlers. His own attitude is changed when one bitter night he staggers to the door of the Rev. John Elkins and implores food and shelter. These are given unquestioningly by the man of God, and the grateful Onawanda attaches himself to the household, where he makes deerskin garments for the little ones and keeps the family supplied with game. The neighbors protest at the presence of an Indian in the little village, believing him to be no better than a spy, but the minister has faith in his protégé, and his only reply to their excited charges is to take the Indian by the hand and declare his disbelief of the stories. Some little time later ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Drama

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28 September 1909 (USA)  »

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Onawanda  »

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1.33 : 1
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Released as a split reel along with The Romance of an Umbrella (1909). See more »

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One of the best of the Indian stories
7 January 2015 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

A Vitagraph Indian story, the scene of which is laid in the region around Boston just after the time of the Pilgrims. It is a story of a friendly Indian, who, to prove that he is faithful to a friend, loses his own life in the rescue of his benefactor's children. It is perhaps a little out of the ordinary run of Indian tales in that it is more of a subtle character sketch than it is descriptive and is sufficiently interesting to hold the attention of the audience from the start to the close. It is, all things considered, one of the best of the Indian stories for this reason. The more or less spectacular rescue of the children and the development of the plot to create a feeling on the part of the preacher against the friendly Indian are all important features in the development of the story and add to its effectiveness. The staging appears to be quite satisfactory, while the action is in harmony with the subject and adds materially to the piece as a whole. The Indian is there, but he has been changed by kindness and is ready to give his life, even in the service of those who have befriended him. Technically the film is good. The photography is clear and the picture runs smooth, both important features in the enjoyment of a good drama.

  • The Moving Picture World, October 9, 1909



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