Drums of the Desert (1927)

Genres - Western  |  
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Filmed on the Navajo reservation in Northern Arizona, this silent Paramount Western was yet another screen adaptation of a story by popular pulp writer Zane Grey. Mustachioed Warner Baxter, who would earn an Academy Award two years later for playing The Cisco Kid in the movie In Old Arizona, stars as John Curry, a friend of the Navajos who fails in his attempts to keep the white man from exploiting the tribe's secret altars. Realizing that there is oil to be found on the reservation, evil Will Newton (Wallace MacDonald) gains entry to the area by posing as a trail guide for Elias Manton (George Irving), an archeologist, and his daughter Mary (Austrian actress Marietta Millner). Curry attempts to gain the villain's trust by being overly cordial and is shot by the Indians. Down but not out, Curry manages to alert the cavalry, and Newton and his henchmen are soon apprehended. Typical of the day, Navajo Chief Brave Bear was played by Bernard Siegel, a Jewish character actor hailing from Lemberg, Poland.

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Keywords

cross-cultural-relations, land-scheme, land-war, Native-American, oil, robbery