Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Previously filmed as a one-reeler by D.W. Griffith in 1910, Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona was given its first full-length treatment in 1916, with Griffith acolyte Donald Crisp in the director's chair. Adda Gleason plays Ramona, the Native American sweetheart of a young and headstrong Indian chieftain (Monroe Salisbury). The girl's romance with the youthful chief is blighted by the blatant racism of the Spanish Californian ruling class, specifically Señora Moreno (Alice Morten Otten), Ramona's guardian. Within the course of the 36 years covered in the film, Ramona's fellow tribesmen endure one devastating tragedy after another, but the misery comes to a (temporary) end when the girl finds happiness with the racially sensitive son of the tyrannical Moreno. Later versions of Ramona starred such ersatz Indians as Dolores Del Rio and Loretta Young). The 1916 adaptation was originally released in a mammoth 12-reel version, but this was pared to 10 reels for its general distribution.