5 November 2007 | wes-connors
A Sweet and Harrowing Story of the Early West
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