Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> WILLIAM S. HART
Tobacco Card: "White Oak" (1921)
William S. Hart, Chief Luther Standing Bear

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WHITE OAK

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Lobby Card (Orig. Release)

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Tobacco Card

William S. Hart (as Oak Miller) and Chief Luther Standing Bear (as Chief Long Knife) in "White Oak," produced by Hart in 1921 and distributed by Paramount Pictures, then a subsidiary of Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky's Famous Players-Lasky Corp.

3x2-inch card, probably a tobacco card. Back is blank. (Tobacco cards were collected and traded in similar manner to later bubble-gum cards.)

About Chief Luther Standing Bear.

Luther Standing Bear knew the West when it was still tame. Born in the 1860s in South Dakota, he was named "Plenty Kill" (Ota Kte) by his father, a Brulé Lakota chief with plenty of kills under his belt (or, notched on his coup stick). He was raised in a traditional way that was soon shattered. His experiences would fill a book (and they do; we can't give it justice here). He was the first boy to enter the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania where he took the name Luther, and where he tried, and succeeded, in doing well in order to make his father proud.

Like his father (and like author Helen Hunt Jackson*), he supported the 1887 Allotment Act (aka Dawes Act) because he saw land ownership as a pathway to U.S. citizenship, which was denied most Indians until 1924. (With a century's hindsight, the Allotment Act is seen as having been detrimental to Indian land ownership.) He spent a season with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and performed for the king of England; given Luther's formal education and his natural, inherited leadership abilities, Col. Cody put him in charge of the other Indian performers. In 1905 he was named chief of the Oglala Lakota — a position he held only briefly. Reservation life and second-class citizenship were not for him.

Eventually he came to California where he met film producer Thomas Ince, who hired him as a consultant (but, from Luther's autobiography, Ince must not have listened too well). His first screen credit was for the 1916 film adaptation of H.H. Jackson's "Ramona" (a lost film). He appeared in the 1921 Hart vehicle, "White Oak," and the two men evidently maintained a friendly relationship as seen here.

Here's the "but." Luther doesn't devote many pages of his autobiography to "Hollywood" except to say that Ince once told him: "Standing Bear, some day you and I are going to make some real Indian pictures." The day never came. "I wrote Mr. Ince that I was willing to work for my people and to help him, if he would accept my ideas and my stories. I waited for a reply, but none came."

"I have seen probably all of the pictures which are supposed to depict Indian life," Luther writes in 1928, "and not one of them is correctly made."

Not one.

* Jackson died before the act was adopted. She was an early proponent who believed the government's "refusal of the protection of the law to the Indian's rights of property ... must cease" ("A Century of Dishonor," 1881 [Dover 2003 edition pg. 342]).

MORE: Read Hart's introduction to Chief Luther Standing Bear's autobiography here.


About "White Oak."

Produced by the William S. Hart Company; distributed by Paramount-Artcraft; released December 18, 1921; ©August 15, 1921; seven reels (6208 feet).

Directed by Lambert Hillyer; screenplay by Bennet Musson from the story "Single Handed" by William S. Hart; photographed by Joe August; art director, J. C. Hoffner; edited by William O'Shea; art titles by Harry Barndollar.

CAST: William S. Hart (Oak Miller); Vola Vale (Barbara); Alexander Gaden (Mark Granger); Robert Walker (Harry); Bertholde Sprotte (Eliphalet Moss); Helen Holly (Rose Miller); Standing Bear (Chief Long Knife).

SYNOPSIS: Oak Miller, square gambler, deals cards at the Red Fort Saloon, Independence, Missouri, and watches for a chance to punish the man who deceived his sister Rose with a promise of marriage. Rose is ill and under the care of Barbara, with whom Oak is in love. Eliphalet Moss, stepfather of Barbara, is jealous of Oak. Granger, the man Oak is searching for, comes to town disguised and determines to possess Barbara. Granger plots with Chief Long Knife to attack a rich emigrant train. The chief is unaware that Granger misused his daughter, Little Fawn. Rose dies. Barbara's stepfather tries to enter the cabin at night and is shot to death by her brother Harry, a tool of Granger's. Barbara is suspected of the crime. To save her, Oak robs Moss's bank and leaves evidence pointing to himself as the robber. Oak is arrested for murder. The emigrant train is attacked [by Indians]. Barbara sends a dog with a message for Oak. He breaks jail, goes to the rescue of the emigrants and the Indians are repulsed [when he captures Chief Long Knife as a hostage]. Long Knife kills Granger. Barbara and Oak are united. [Exhibitor's Trade Review, November 12, 1921]

REVIEWS: Once again Bill Hart has undertaken to write his own story and if he can continue the good work there's no reason why he shouldn't, for White Oak is a splendid picture. ... It contains plenty of action, fine detail and a real atmosphere of the old West with Injuns 'n' everything. And best of all it offers probably the most popular of Western portrayers in a role ideally suited to him. As usual, Hart does fine work. ...[Wid's, November 6, 1921]

The star's fans will find White Oak immensely interesting, for it presents him in his best-liked role of a hard-riding, straight-shooting man. The continuity is smooth and the suspense well built up. Some of the exterior scenes, too, are especially striking, notably those where the Indians circle in clouds of dust around the beleaguered caravan. But it does tax the imagination a bit to see the hero's revolver bringing down galloping Indians a quarter of a mile away. Perhaps our own lack of skill with the weapon makes us unduly skeptical, but we should like to see such shooting in real life. [Sumner Smith, Moving Picture World, November 12, 1921]


LW3358: 9600 dpi jpeg from original card purchased 2018 by Leon Worden. Note: This example is encapsulated.
HART CATEGORIES:
• Stage Career
• Hart Films
• Publicity Photos
• Hart as Author
• WWI War Bonds
• Hart Mansion
• Hart in Retirement
• Personal Life
• Hart in Artwork

WILLIAM S. HART FILMS

WATCH FULL MOVIES
Keno Bates, Liar (1915)
Knight of the Trail (1915)
The Ruse (1915)
The Cradle of Courage (1920)
White Oak (1921)
Tumbleweeds (1925/1939)
ALSO:
Farewell to the Screen, from Tumbleweeds Re-release (1939)


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Biography
(Mitchell 1955)

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Biography
(Conlon/McCallum 1960)

Essay: The Good Bad Man (Griffith & Mayer 1957)


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Film Bio, Russia 1926

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The Disciple 1915/1923

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The Captive God 1916 x2

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The Aryan 1916 x2

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The Primal Lure 1916

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The Apostle of Vengeance (Mult.)

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Return of Draw Egan 1916 x2

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Truthful Tulliver 1917

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The Gun Fighter 1917 Theater Invoice

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Wolf Lowry 1917

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The Narrow Trail 1917 (mult.)

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Riddle Gawne 1918 x2

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"A Bullet for Berlin" 1918 (4th Series)

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The Border Wireless 9-29-1918 Rialto Premiere

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Branding Broadway 1918 x2

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Breed of Men 2-2-1919 Rivoli Premiere

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The Poppy Girl's Husband 3-23-1919 Rivoli Premiere

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The Money Corral 4-20-1919 Rialto Premiere

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Square Deal Sanderson 1919

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Wagon Tracks 1919 x2

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Sand 1920 Lantern Slide Image

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The Toll Gate 1920 x3

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The Cradle of Courage 1920

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The Testing Block 1920: Slides, Lobby Cards, Photos (Multiple)

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O'Malley/Mounted 1921 (Mult.)

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The Whistle 1921 (Mult.)

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White Oak 1921 (Mult.)

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Travelin' On 1921/22

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Three Word Brand 1921

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Wild Bill Hickok 1923 x2

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Singer Jim McKee 1924 (Mult.)

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"Tumbleweeds" 1925/1939

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