The Forbidden Trail (1923)


When Red Hawk Dugan and his men attack a small wagon train, Colonel Merriwell is killed and the young girl Isobel taken and raised thinking Dugan is her father. Fifteen years later the ... See full summary »


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30 March 2011 | Michael_Elliott
Worth Watching
Forbidden Trail, The (1923)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A wagon train comes under attack and bandit Red Hawk Dugan (Joseph McDermott) shoots Col. Jim Merriwell (Jack Hoxie) in the back, killing him. The bandit kidnaps a young girl as well as Merriwell's servant but fifteen years later Jim's son Jack Merriwell (Hoxie as well) comes back for revenge when he hears the truth of what happened to his father. This here was my second Hoxie film and I think from seeing these it's easy to say that he wasn't in the same league as Tom Mix or William S. Hart. It's too early to fully judge a guy after only two films but this one here features yet another weak story that really prevents the actor from doing too much. The biggest problem with the screenplay is the fact that there are way too many twists and all of them are rather obvious and follow the clichés that were already well driven into the ground when it comes to silent Westerns. This includes the kidnapped girl thinking that the man who really took her is actually her father and it should come to no shock that Jack eventually falls in love with her but the dumb woman thinks he's the bad guy. This is something our hero will have to work out. We also get the typical revenge story that at times doesn't make too much sense but at just 62-minutes this doesn't hurt the film too much as it keeps moving at a nice pace. Hoxie isn't too bad here but the screenplay really doesn't do much for him. He fits the role of the hero fairly well and he's certainly able of handling himself during some of the chase scenes. Evelyn Nelson makes for a good love interest and Frank Rice turns in another fine performance as the comic relief. I was also impressed with McDermott who is good in his part but for some reason he doesn't age a bit in the fifteen years. Future Jungle Jim director William Berke plays a small part here. There are a couple good action scenes including the final one where our lovely lady finds herself in a river in need of being rescued. THE FORBIDDEN TRAIL certainly isn't a classic and it's not even a good film but there are a few decent moments if you're a fan of the genre.

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Release Date:

1 February 1923



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