Starring Betty Compson, Ricardo Cortez, Ernest Torrence, Wallace Beery, George Bancroft
Directed by James Cruze
Runtime: 110 min.
Print Quality: B
Having tackled a wagon train in the immensely popular The Covered Wagon (1922), James Cruze directed this would-be epic centered on the famed Pony Express. This time, however, audiences stayed away in droves. Cruze's old-fashioned staging was foremost to blame. He portrayed pretty vistas but little movement in his epics and Pony Express of course even lacked the novelty aspects that had made "Wagon" a box-office success. Austrian-born Ricardo Cortez starred as a gambler who joins the delivery service during the time of California's impending statehood. There is the obligatory Indian attack and a nasty villain played to the hilt by George Bancroft. Still and all, this silent version is superior in almost all aspects to the even more slow-moving 1953 remake starring Charlton Heston.