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The Heart of an Indian (1912)

Not Rated | | Short, Western | 1 March 1912 (USA)
When Indians attack a white settlement, a brave kidnaps a white baby to give to his wife as a replacement for their dead baby. The white mother goes to the Indian camp to look for her child... See full summary »


Thomas H. Ince


Thomas H. Ince (scenario)




Cast overview:
Francis Ford ... Mountain Rock - the Indian Chief
Ann Little ... Ravenwing - the Indian Mother (as Anna Little)
J. Barney Sherry ... Mr. Brown - a Settler


When Indians attack a white settlement, a brave kidnaps a white baby to give to his wife as a replacement for their dead baby. The white mother goes to the Indian camp to look for her child and is captured by the Indians who plan to torture her. The settlers attack the Indian camp, destroying it completely and killing the braves, while the Indian wife returns the baby to the white woman and allows her to escape. The Indian wife mourns her baby at its grave, unaware of the destruction of the Indian camp. Written by <leecozad@alumni.usc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Short | Western


Not Rated

User Reviews

one you might like to round out your film education
8 November 2010 | by skiddooSee all my reviews

If you are interested in film history, this might be worth a look. It does have a favorable view of motherhood and puts forth the idea that people are pretty similar, Indian or White. If you are bothered by bad acting, gross inaccuracies, cheap production values, and general dullness, you might want to skip it.

I don't know what year this was supposed to represent. It's good to remember that the massacre at Wounded Knee, SD, was in 1890 so anyone making movies would have grown up with that information. Indeed, in my own family is the tale about children taken by Indians many years earlier in PA and the mother killed--she was upset with Indian men coming a number of times for food and it is generally thought she got what she deserved, which seems a bit harsh as a lesson to always be nice to everyone. :)

The Indians in this are all dressed to the nines and the Whites are bedraggled. I'm not sure if that was symbolic. The chief looked very out of place among actual Native Americans. It doesn't appear they killed the bison that lay heaving on the ground through the whole encirclement scene, unlike in Greed where it surely seemed as if they first used a trip wire and then shot the horribly twitching mule. Ghastly. Of course what the directors did to the actors was often not much better.

The White mother was evidently quite well fed and corseted in firmly, both of which would have been unusual because of the rigorous conditions of life as a settler. The Indian mother had only one gesture during all her mourning scenes and it started to irritate me. The White woman had more but they weren't very believable.

The music was really dull and I was struggling to keep my attention on the movie until it was over. I tried to notice other things, such as the use of four oxen to plow. I have no doubt that it was still possible to find an old wrangler who knew about things like that to use in the film. In fact, four years after this was made, in the Texas Panhandle, Charles Goodnight invited his Indian friends to his ranch from their reservation in OK for one last buffalo hunt which he filmed. (His ranch later became Palo Duro Canyon.) He had been both friend and foe to Indians over the years, and he had been one of the saviors of bison by breeding them on his ranch. If a person had grown up in the West in the period before The Indian Massacre was made, he or she might have had a more nuanced view of Native Americans than Easterners did.

I'm giving this movie five stars for the maternal angle and the historical ties that showed the makers of the movie had not yet totally given in to the "savage Indian" genre and had tried to show we have much in common, even if it is that men fight and women mourn. Soon WWI would be upon us to show another way in which that was relevant. (I do not endorse that view; I only mention it used to be prevalent.)

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Release Date:

1 March 1912 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Indian Massacre See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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