The Post Telegrapher
R: Francis Ford, Thomas H. Ince. D: Lillian Christy, Jack Conway, Francis Ford, Mildred Harris, William Myers, Robert Stanton, Ann Little. P: Bison Motion Pictures / New York Motion Picture. USA 1912
Print: EYE collection / Jean Desmet Collection
“After taking over the New York Motion Picture Company’s West Coast productions, Ince hired performers from the Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show and leased 28 square miles of canyons and rolling grasslands above Santa Monica for locations. Included in the arrangement were fifty Oglala Sioux from South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation.
The Post Telegrapher was Ince’s sixth large-scale western; all were two-reelers, with plots that had settled into a formula. As Moving Picture World (27 April 1912) summarized, while praising the series, ‘We know in advance that the Indians are going to have a war dance and attack the settlers, that some hero or heroine will go through all sorts of perils to reach the military post, and that the troops will arrive in the nick of time.’
Francis Ford’s title role underlines how fully this film is a prototype for his brother John Ford’s westerns. As in The Searchers, we open with a settler’s family, among whom only one daughter will survive the Indian attack. Of Ford’s cavalry films, this is closest to Fort Apache, with romances and a Custer-like massacre near an isolated fort in the 1870s (President Grant’s portrait overlooks the Colonel’s office).”
>>> Thomas H. Ince