There's a lot that problematic for the modern viewer in this movie, starting with the blackface. To explain without excusing, the only reason Griffith was involved in the movies at all was because he couldn't get a job on stage. The first people he would give any jobs to were buddies similarly fitted -- assuming his bosses didn't have any thoughts on the subject.
What is clear is the anti-racist message of this movie: there are bad Black people. There are also good ones. It's just like they are individuals!
On a technical issue, this is a very early movie for Griffith to have shot outdoors; he was clearly more comfortable within the familiar confines of the stage and studio. The editing of the opening sequence, with cuts every time the warriors or wagon round a corner, are blindingly fast for the era. They definitely increase the tension from the then-standard rate of showing them entering on one side of the screen and continuing through to the other. Here, they start with the action in the center!
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