3 June 2008 | wes-connors
Hungry Like the Wolf
Professional gambler and gunslinger William S. Hart (as Oak Miller) dearly loves sister Helen Holly (as Rose Miller). The story begins with Ms. Holly on the Missouri riverboat "Valletta". Holly is engaged to gentlemanly Alexander Gaden (as Mark Granger), who decides he wants to "honeymoon" before marriage. Horrified, virtuous Holly jumps ship. Ashore, Mr. Hart senses the danger (with the help of a well-timed letter), and rushes to the rescue. Recovering from her near-drowning, Holly pleads with Hart not to seek vengeance.
Later, Mr. Gaden disguises himself with a beard; in town, he causes trouble for Hart and his sweetheart, brown-eyed bank cashier Vola Vale (as Barbara). Ms. Vale also has trouble fending off the advances of lecherous step-father Bert Sprotte (as Eliphalet Moss). After attempting rape, Mr. Sprotte turns up dead. Vale's long-lost brother also turns up. Hart is accused of killing Sprotte, and jailed. Vale joins a traveling Wagon Train, with the always sexually-charged Gaden. "Indians" mix in; as it turns out, Gaden has had his way with an Indian lass.
There are several good scenes, helped by the photography of Joe August; but, William S. Hart's over-produced, over-plotted tale of reluctant vengeance doesn't compare with his earlier work. Only a dog named "Jeff" could sort "White Oak" out.