Captain Wynnegate leaves England, accepting the blame for embezzling charity funds though knowing that his cousin Sir Henry is guilty. Out West he and the Indian girl Nat-U-Rich save each other from the evil cattle rustler Cash Hawkins and marry. Lady Diana shows up to announce Sir Henry's death. After Nat-U-Rich's suicide Wynnegate takes his half-breed son and Lady Diana back to England as the new Earl of Kerhill.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Wild Western story of blue blood and red blood; of white-souled redskins and black-hearted whites; of love that demands all and love that gives all. (Print Ad-Spartanburg Herald, ((Spartanburg SC)) 5 November 1919)
English cousins Dustin Farnum (as Jim) and Monroe Salisbury (as Henry) are made trustees for an orphans' fund. Mr. Salisbury has a fondness for betting on the horses, and pilfers money from the fund. For the sake of family honor, Mr. Farnum accepts responsibility for the missing funds, and sails off to America. Farnum buys a ranch, befriends the local Indians (Native Americans), and feuds with wicked William Elmer (as Cash Hawkins). When Salisbury dies, on the Swiss Alps, widow Winifred Kingston (as Diana) wants to bring Farnum home to England, but he's settled in America with Squaw Red Wing (as Nat-u-ritch)
Due to its relatively long length, this is sometimes called the first feature film. It is also the noted as first feature filmed in Hollywood, California; but, you wouldn't know it - the Farnum ranch looks like Hollywood (check out the background), but the more memorable ship trek and heavy snowfall scenes can't be Hollywood (obviously). It's the first film by director Cecil B. DeMille, who shows some promise (in hindsight).
There are no great performances; Dustin Farnum was an important stage actor, getting acquainted with film. I thought Farnum was best and most impressive in the scenes with his "half-breed" son (who looks nothing like his Indian mother). Billy Elmer was entertaining in what should have been a larger role (Cash Hawkins). I found "The Squaw Man" confusing - some of the events and relationships are like... "fill in the blanks". The Indian/Englishman relationship was, perhaps, daring for an early film theme (if you can figure out what's going on); and, Ms. Wing was a real Winnebago Indian actress.
****** The Squaw Man (2/15/14) Cecil B. DeMille, Oscar Apfel ~ Dustin Farnum, Red Wing, William Elmer
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