Based upon the famous novel by Zane Grey, The Vanishing American is an epic-scale historical melodrama which takes as its theme the mistreatment of Native Americans and offers stirring tribute to their survival in the face of environmental, governmental, and inter-tribal hardship.
Filmed on location in Monument Valley and the Betatakin Cliff Dwellings of Arizona, the colossal Paramount production offers a sweeping history of the American Indian — from the prehistoric “Basket Maker” to the 20th Century Navajo. Richard Dix (Cimarron, The Ten Commandments) stars as Nophaie, a hereditary war chieftan caught between the ways of his ancestors and the dubious future offered by the U.S. government. While a sympathetic schoolteacher (Lois Wilson) encourages him to embrace the new responsibilities of being an “American,” a crooked government agent (Noah Beery) confirms Nophaie’s worst suspicions. The tensions escalate in a climactic Indian uprising, as an army of Native Americans lay siege to a governmental stronghold with only Nophaie standing between them.
Starring: Lois Wilson, Noah Beery, Richard Dix
Silent , Tinted B&W, 1925, English intertitles, 109 mins, western