Soul Herder (1917)

Genres - Western  |   Countries - USA  |  
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John Ford -- then billed as Jack Ford -- had recently begun directing his own features when he made this Western with Harry Carey. Harry wakes up one morning in jail with a hangover, and is informed by the sheriff that because of his wild behavior the night before he is to get out of town. On the road Harry comes upon an Indian attack, during which a young minister, John Marks (Jean Hersholt), hides his little daughter (Elizabeth Janes) before being killed by his attackers. When the Indians have gone, Harry rescues the little girl, who insists that he dress like her daddy. He obliges, finding a note to John from his sister-in-law Jane (Fritzi Ridgeway) asking him to come to the town of Buckhorn. Harry does as the letter instructs, the child in tow. Jane assumes that he is John at first, but when he gets in a fight with one of the town's bad guys, it becomes clear that he is no minister. Harry, however, is willing to give it a try and he forces the saloon's patrons to attend a sermon, which he gives cowboy-style, guns and all. Unfortunately, the town's ruffians blame Jane for being forced to go to church, and they kidnap her, compelling Harry to shoot it out with the bad guys and rescue Jane. He returns victorious and closes down the saloon. Carey and Ford would make films together for several years, and the blend of action and humor here is typical of their output.