Gray Otter, the last of a line of powerful Sioux chiefs, eagerly awaits the return of his son from the government school, to save the name and the glory of his clan from extinction. Tiah, ...
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Gray Otter, the last of a line of powerful Sioux chiefs, eagerly awaits the return of his son from the government school, to save the name and the glory of his clan from extinction. Tiah, however, turns out to be a drunken renegade. Violating the peace compact between his father and the colonel of the local garrison, he leads an attack upon the army paymaster. The old chief surprises him in action, and swiftly deciding that his son's crime is punishable only with death, he shoots and kills Tiah. The American soldiers all are killed by the Indians, who then escape. Gray Otter makes the colonel believe that Tiah died defending the paymaster, and has the happiness of seeing the last of his line buried with high military honors.Written by
Moving Picture World synopsis
Excellent film about Sioux leader Chief Gray Otter (Joe Goodboy) who sends his son Tiah (Sessue Hayakawa) off to a "white man's school" so that he can become a great leader. The son returns home as a worthless drunk, disappointing the father but things get worse when the son joins a group of renegades and robs a payroll. The father is then forced to make a decision. This Thomas Ince produced drama is actually one of the best films I've seen from this era that wasn't directed by D.W. Griffith. I was really amazed at how much I really enjoyed this film and even though there are some flaws here and there, there's simply no question that this is one of the most powerful films from this era and one that could have people debating for years. I really thought the film did a remarkable job in how it looked at the father and his grief over the dreams of his son's greatness going to ruin when he realizes that his son is never going to do anything good. The way it shows the father's pain is something I found very realistic as a parent and it's easy to feel for the man. Now, I'm not going to spoil the two big things that the father does in the final act but they're so strong that you could debate them for years. I really loved how the film mixed this personal drama with some social commentary and there's no question it gives the viewer a lot to think about and discuss. I also loved how real Native Americans were used in the majority of the parts and just take a look at those wonderful authentic outfits. Both Goodboy and Hayakawa are extremely good in their parts and especially Goodboy. The final shot of this film is just heartbreaking to say the least and this is certainly one of the best pictures from this era.
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