Phantom Ride and Shooting

From Leadville to Aspen: A Hold-Up in the Rockies
R: Francis J. Marion, Wallace McCutcheon. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1906.
Print: Library of Congress

“This short was both entertaining and unique. It starts out with a camera mounted on a train which starts to move. A good part of the movie is a sort of documentary showing the country side and small towns as the train travels through them. This was actually a genre of film at the time, dubbed ‘Phantom Tourism’ where locations were filmed from a moving vehicle. What sets this short apart though, is that it turns into a drama when the tracks are blocked off and some villains rob the train.”
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The Invaders
R: Francis Ford, Thomas H. Ince. B: C. Gardner Sullivan K: Ray C. Smallwood. D: Francis Ford, Ethel Grandin, Ann Little. P: Kay-Bee Pictures. USA 1912

“Indians are clearly the wronged party in this film. The treaty text is shown three times in total, making both its terms and the fact that it was broken by the US government abundantly clear. Nevertheless, the attack on the post is merciless and brutal and the first people to be called ‘victims’ are white. Furthermore, the Indian maid prefers the white man over her Indian suitor who is reasonably rich and liked by her father. Also, even though she favors the white surveyor, even consensual miscegenation is avoided by her death. Miscegenation through rape is equaled with the dishonoring of the woman, as demonstrated by the Colonel’s daughter’s attempt to die before the Sioux and Cheyenne arrive at the post. On the other hand, a more positive attitude towards Indians can be found in the fact that Sky Star is portrayed as a heroine who gives her life to save the whites.
The Sioux are presented as smart and fair – they can read, they know their rights, they protest in a civil manner before they go to war, only go to war after diplomacy hasn’t worked, and they form alliances to fight the whites, they effectively communicate with the Cheyenne via blanket signals. Except for Sky Star non of the Indians have names which sets her apart from other Indian characters, as does her screen time which lies at almost twenty-three percent. The other Indian characters such as ‘the chief’ or the ‘an unwelcome suitor’, and thus resemble types more than actual characters. Nevertheless, it remains that the Indian attack is justified by the broken treaty, thus, providing the characters with a motivation that sets them apart from later screen images of Indians.”
Indian Pictures