Shootin' Square (1924)

Genres - Western  |  
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This otherwise fairly average silent western contains a sequence as racist in its own seemingly innocuous way as anything D.W. Griffith ever committed. But unlike the treatment of African-Americans in Birth of a Nation, which at least had the excuse of being a period piece, the offensive elements of the modern-dress Shootin' Square are played as natural and understanding behavior. Ranch foreman Jack Perrin's upcoming nuptials with his boss' daughter (Peggy O'Day) hits a snag when the minister (Martin Turner) proves to be black. "How could you do this to me?" O'Day cries (via an inter title of course). "I'll never see you again!" Poor Parson Turner apologizes for the color of his skin, Perrin explains that it was all a misunderstanding, O'Day forgives him, and they return to the altar. This time the minister is actually an escaped outlaw in disguise (Bud Osborne), a fact which proves slightly less traumatic for the bride than the earlier "mishap."

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Keywords

bigotry, daughter, foreman, minister, outlaw [Western], racism