Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Red Raiders is the best-known of Ken Maynard's silent westerns, and not without reason. While the title tells all plotwise, the film transcends its "Cowboys vs. Indians" trappings with its sympathetic portrayal of Maynard's Native American opponents. Yes, the Indians do go on the warpath against the whites, but only after the headstrong young chief (played by Chief Yowlachie) is extensively advised not to resort to violence by his level-headed tribal elders. In fact, it is the death of this hostile chief that brings about a "lasting" peace between the Indians and the settlers in the final footage. Of historical interest is the fact that the film was largely shot on the site of Custer's Last Stand, with one of the few living veterans of that confrontation, an Indian named White Man Runs Him, appearing as "himself." During filming of the battle scenes in Red Raiders, one of the Native American extras was killed with live ammunition; reprisals from the local Indians were avoided when it was discovered that the dead man was murdered by his own son-in-law, a domestic dispute that had nothing to do with the film. Red Raiders was for many years the only "B" western to be included in the repertory of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
Native-American, peace, peacemaker, warpath