Sally McCoy is in love with Jim Hatfield, but their two families are involved in a bitter feud.
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Storyline

When Jim Hatfield beats Buddy McCoy for stealing some apples, it begins a bitter feud between their two families. Soon afterwards, at an auction, Buddy takes a shot at Jim, and accidentally kills Jim's mother. Sally McCoy and Jim are in love with each other, further complicating the situation. As feelings become inflamed on both sides, a full-scale blood feud erupts. Written by Snow Leopard

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Drama | Short

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7 November 1905 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Biograph production number 3106. See more »

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Never Has A Chance, Due To Poor Story-Telling Technique
14 October 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Despite subject matter that held some potential, this short drama never gets off the ground, due to technique that is not good at all, even by 1905 standards. There were already plenty of features by this time that had told relatively involved stories with enough detail and care that they still hold up even after a century has passed. This one was probably a bit too ambitious, and nothing that they did was able to salvage it.

The story is about the notorious Hatfield-McCoy feud, and it tries to follow the feud from its beginning onward. That's certainly a topic that provides plenty of dramatic material, but even in the first scene it does not work out very well. The characters are impossible to distinguish one from another, and given the story, that is a crucial weakness. Much of the action is either illogical or otherwise hard to follow.

Only after repeat viewings can you understand everything that is going on. It does have a fair amount of detail, but you shouldn't have to go to so much trouble in order to appreciate it.

The only thing that keeps you aware of what you are seeing is the title cards, which announce in some detail each scene or tableau. You always want to be charitable towards these very early films, but in this case, the titles by themselves would have made a better quality movie.

One thing that this does accomplish is to demonstrate just how much skill goes into making even a simple movie. The settings in themselves are believable, and the actors perform the actions requested of them, but it's just not that good. It makes you appreciate much more those films of 1900-1905 that do work well.


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