Back to God’s Country (1919)
“Back to God’s Country,” a 1919 silent film directed by David Hartford and starring Nell Shipman, is a compelling adventure and drama that captures the essence of the early years of American cinema.
Set against the backdrop of the Canadian wilderness, the film offers a tale of survival, love, and the indomitable spirit of its protagonist.
The film’s narrative revolves around a young woman named Dolores LeBeau, played by Nell Shipman. Dolores resides in the wilderness of the Canadian North, where she lives with her father. The rugged and unforgiving landscape becomes the stage for a thrilling adventure as Dolores faces numerous challenges and dangers.
One of the central themes of the film is Dolores’ relationship with her faithful dog, Wapi. This bond is central to the narrative and is explored as the film unfolds. The loyalty and companionship between Dolores and Wapi become instrumental in their quest for survival in the harsh wilderness.
The story takes a dramatic turn when a villainous character, Peter Burke, portrayed by Wheeler Oakman, arrives in the wilderness. He becomes infatuated with Dolores and attempts to pursue her romantically. However, his advances are unwelcome, and Dolores resists his advances.
The conflict escalates as Peter Burke’s advances turn menacing, leading to a dramatic confrontation. This confrontation sets the stage for a thrilling climax in the harsh wilderness, where Dolores and Wapi must summon all their courage and resourcefulness to survive and overcome the threat posed by Burke.
“Back to God’s Country” is notable for its stunning outdoor cinematography that captures the grandeur and beauty of the Canadian wilderness. The film’s breathtaking natural settings add depth and authenticity to the story, enhancing the cinematic experience for the audience.
Nell Shipman’s portrayal of Dolores is a standout aspect of the film. Her performance conveys the character’s resilience, determination, and her deep connection with Wapi, showcasing her acting prowess and making her a beloved figure in early cinema.
The film’s exploration of themes such as survival, the power of nature, and the bond between humans and animals resonated with audiences of the time, contributing to its success. “Back to God’s Country” remains a classic of silent cinema and continues to be celebrated for its captivating storytelling and the performances of its cast.
In conclusion, “Back to God’s Country” is a silent film that transports viewers to the rugged wilderness of the Canadian North, where the indomitable spirit of its protagonist, Dolores LeBeau, and her loyal dog, Wapi, are tested in the face of danger. The film’s exploration of themes such as survival and the bond between humans and animals, coupled with stunning outdoor cinematography, solidifies its place in the annals of early American cinema.
Release Date: October 27th, 1919
Main Cast Members
Nell Shipman (Dolores LeBeau)
Charles Arling (‘Sealskin’ Blake)
Wheeler Oakman (Peter Burke)
Kewpie Morgan (Bully in Bar)