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A Temporary Truce (1912)

Mexican Jim, a good-for-nothing of the mining camp, spends most of his time in the tavern of the little town. On this particular day, having drunk up more than usual, he quarrels with Jack ... See full summary »


D.W. Griffith


George Hennessy


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Cast overview:
Charles Hill Mailes ... Mexican Jim
Claire McDowell ... Mexican Jim's Wife
Charles Gorman Charles Gorman ... Jack, the Prospector
Blanche Sweet ... Alice, the Prospector;s Wife
W. Chrystie Miller ... The Murdered Indian / Indian on Street
Robert Harron ... The Murdered Indian's Son


Mexican Jim, a good-for-nothing of the mining camp, spends most of his time in the tavern of the little town. On this particular day, having drunk up more than usual, he quarrels with Jack Hardy, a young prospector. Jack, under other circumstances, would have disdainfully ignored Jim's drunken garble, but he felt in none too good a humor, for things were not prospering with him, and his young wife was growing homesick for the east. Hence Jack's temper was on tap and he made Jim the laughing-stock of the town by giving him a walloping. Jim vows to get even: but how? He carries off Jack's wife and leaves a derisive note for Jack, and another at the saloon, to the effect that the joke is turned. Jim has forcibly taken Jack's wife as far as an old deserted well-box in the hills, when Jack, who started after them, comes up and opens fire. Jim has the advantage for he is sheltered by the well-box, and furthermore. Jack is careful for fear of hitting his wife. This warfare does not last long... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Action | Short | Western







Release Date:

10 June 1912 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

A Sweet and Harrowing Story of the Early West
5 November 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

The story begins by introducing two married couples - prospector Charles Gorman (as Jack Hardy) and his "Homesick for the East" wife Blanche Sweet (as Alice); and, Mexicans Charles Hill Mailes (as Jim) and wife Claire McDowell. The husbands meet at a saloon, where the Mr. Gorman makes a laughing stock out of the "good-for-nothing" Hill Mailes, then throws him out of the bar. Next, Hill Mailes joins a couple of cutthroats, and shoots "Indian" Robert Harron's father, just to watch him die. So, two of the film's characters seek revenge - Hill Mailes wants to get even with Gorman for throwing him around; and, Indian son Harron wants vengeance for his murdered father. Hill Mailes kidnaps his enemy's wife, Ms. Sweet; and, despite advice from his Chief to keep the peace, Harron rounds up some Young Braves to go after Hill Mailes.

Subtitled "A Story of the Early West", "A Temporary Truce" compares very favorably with some of Director D.W. Griffith's more well-known "little epics" from the period. The southern California location sequences are exciting; Griffith and cameraman G.W. Bitzer are, obviously, in the process of kicking up film-making a notch (or two) every year. Sweet gives a particularly fine performance as the kidnapped wife, and the other performers are, at least, interesting. Harron is noteworthy as the wronged Indian boy; he steals the film, and tilts the story toward the unexpected side of the traditional "Cowboys and Indians" western. Extras include Mary's little brother, Jack Pickford, who joins Harron's Indian gang; and, Mae Marsh is easy to spot as an murdered settler. It's strange to watch Ms. Marsh get attacked by Harron, so notable a future film partner.

***** A Temporary Truce (6/10/12) D.W. Griffith ~ Blanche Sweet, Robert Harron, Charles Hill Mailes

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