Wild Bill Hickok (1923)

Genres - Western  |   Run Time - 77 min.  |  
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In his third-to-last Western, austere silent-screen hero William S. Hart tackles the legend of gambler/lawman Wild Bill Hickock. Unfortunately, Hart's approach was, to quote the trade-paper Wid's, "rather dull and tedious." Hart belonged thoroughly to the 1910s, and his stark ways were considered old hat and no match for the circus atmosphere created by younger cowboy stars. Hart is otherwise well-cast as the former gambler turned upholder of law and order after a run-in with a gang of stage robbers. Having given up his guns for good, he finds Dodge City so rough that he quickly retrieves them. Only an approaching blindness can threaten Hickock's tough adherence to law and order, but when arch-enemy Jack McQueen (James Farley) accuses him of losing his nerve, Hickock is ready with his usual no-nonsense response. There's a woman (Kathleen O'Connor), of course, but only briefly since she is devoted to another (Carl Gerard). And there's the inevitable gallery of colorful supporting characters, from Bat Masterson (Jack Gardner) and Calamity Jane (Ethel Grey Terry) to none other than Abraham Lincoln himself. Despite all this, the film was an expensive failure and hastened Hart's departure from Famous Players Lasky. Supporting actors Carl Gerard and Ethel Grey Terry were married in real life.

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Keywords

disillusionment, gambling, historical-spoof, history, lawman, love, outlaw [Western]