Ed Newton gets into trouble with the ranch men as soon as he starts surveying for a big dam. Tom Daniels rides up and informs him that Bill Dolan, one of the wealthiest ranch men, wishes to... See full summary »




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Credited cast:
Ed Newton
Pauline Bush ...
Margaret Dolan
Jack Richardson ...
Tom Daniels
George Periolat ...
Bill Dolan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


Ed Newton gets into trouble with the ranch men as soon as he starts surveying for a big dam. Tom Daniels rides up and informs him that Bill Dolan, one of the wealthiest ranch men, wishes to see him. He goes and is told by Dolan that the work must be stopped at once. Dolan tries to impress upon Newton, but without effect, the fact that his reservoir meets all the requirements. Here, Newton meets Margaret, the ranch man's daughter. After the surveying has been completed and the work begun, the arrogant ranch men attack the workers of the dam, in which battle Ed Newton and Bill Dolan are seriously injured. Hostilities having ended, the injured engineer is cared for at the Dolan home. During his stay there, he and Margaret have fallen in love, much to the disgust of Tom Daniels, who thought that he would be the one to win her hand. So Daniels swears revenge. When the big dam is finished Ed shows Margaret over the place. In the tower they discover a bomb which had been placed there by ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Western





Release Date:

2 November 1911 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Has an educational value in addition to a fairly strong story
25 April 2016 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

I was much interested in a private exhibition of "The Water War," a western drama by the American Film Mfg. Co., which has an educational value in addition to a fairly strong story dealing with the "winning of the West." The scenes are laid in Southern California, in the neighborhood of the big Sweetwater dam, which cost $12,000,000 in building. The concrete face of this dam is 268 feet in height. Great opposition was made by cattlemen and ranchers to the construction of the dam, as it shut off the free use of water to those located below it, but it has been instrumental in reclaiming many thousands of acres of arid land. The producer of "The Water War" has made use of the history of the Sweetwater dam in the story, and we are given a view of the preliminary work on such a structure. The plain is dotted with graders, horses and wagons, and we see the smoke roll away from a certain spot where a dynamite blast has gone off. Of course, it must be borne in mind that the scene shown here was gotten up for the occasion, as the Sweetwater dam was finished several years ago. The photography of this film is very clear and soft and several fine perspectives are shown. The proverbial "shooting iron" is very much in evidence in "The Water War," and one sees the opposing factions engaged in what is almost a hand-to-hand conflict, which results in only two being rendered hors de combat. Westerners are not such poor marksmen as this scene would lead one to suppose; nor would old man Dolan, if he were a true westerner, waste his ammunition on the clouds. The parts of Margaret Dolan, Ed. Newton (the civil engineer), Tom Daniels and Dolan (the cattle baron) are capably enacted by Miss Pauline Bush. W. J. Kerrigan. Mr. Richardson and George Periolat, respectively. From the first day that he appeared on the ground, with his assistants and instruments, to survey the site of the big dam, Ed. Newton, a civil engineer from the east, met with solid opposition from the cattlemen and ranchmen in that section of Southern California. The opposition was led by Michael Dolan, a wealthy cattleman, who had for his lieutenant a daring, cunning young man named Tom Daniels. Dolan sent young Daniels to Newton bearing a message that all work must be stopped. That was on the afternoon of the first day. Newton immediately rode over to the Dolan residence and "'had it out" with the autocrat of the valley. Heated words passed and the breach was made all the wider. Pretty Margaret Dolan overheard the conversation and was much impressed by the bearing and firmness of the young engineer. Work was continued by Newton as if nothing had happened. A few days afterward, Tom Daniels rode into the camp and handed Newton a letter, which contained the single sentence, "This is the last warning." Desiring peace, Newton sent one of his staff to Dolan with a reply. The man returned bound to his horse and senseless. Then the war was on. Newton armed his men and awaited the attack behind sections of water pipe. In the fight Dolan and Newton are wounded, but the cattlemen are driven off. Newton is carried by his men to the Dolan home, where he is received and cared for by Margaret. Tom Daniels is frenzied at the favor shown Newton, for he has long considered Margaret his own. She, however, has never given him cause for hope in that direction. When almost recovered, Newton takes Margaret over the completed dam. Tom Daniels follows them with hatred in his heart and attempts to dynamite the great concrete wall. He is discovered just in the nick of time by Newton, and in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter is hurled over the wall and falls hundreds of feet below. - The Moving Picture World, October 21, 1911

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