"The Old Oregon Trail" (1925)

Based on a story by Denver Dixon
Released in 1925

Cast: T.C. Rose, Delores Booth, Art Seales, Grace Underwood, Sid Seales and Art Mix.


A typical western of the silent era, the tale begins at the John Day River crossing on the Oregon Trail. Thomas Mercer and his wagon train are attacked by a bunch of horse thieves. As the horse thieves are fleeing with the stolen horses, they are in turn pursued by three cowboys who decide to help the settlers. The cowboys, Calamity Joe (Art Mix) and his two inebriated buddies, retrieve the horses for the settlers. After sobering up they decide to accompany the wagon train on its westward journey.

Betty Mercer, the wagon master's young daughter, is attracted to Calamity Joe and when they arrive at the frontier town of Condon, Calamity Joe and his companions decide to celebrate in a saloon. When Calamity Joe ignores the advances of an old girlfriend, she persuades a gunslinger friend to engage Calamity Joe in a gunfight. Fleeing from the gunslinger, Calamity Joe and his two buddies leave Condon and head west.

Ten years pass, Thomas Mercer has prospered, and Betty Mercer has grown up to be a fine young lady. On the annual Rodeo Day, Calamity Joe and his two buddies ride into town to enter the rodeo. Betty and her father recognize Calamity Joe who enters a rope trick contest, and they are reunited.

Betty invites Joe to their home for supper and at the ranch. Joe intervenes when the ranch foreman makes unreasonable wage demands to Thomas Mercer. The disgruntled foreman engages in a fight with Joe when Joe gathers a group of cowboys to assist Mr. Mercer in harvesting the wheat crop. The disgruntled former foreman and his cronies set fire to the wheat, and while Calamity Joe and his friends are fighting the blaze, the former foreman attacks Mr. Mercer and Betty!

George Kesterson/Art Mix

George Kesterson, (1896-1972), made his screen debut in 1924 when he was hired by Victor Adamson, a writer, director, producer and actor. Adamson had been acting under the name of Art Mix and he hired Kesterson to replace him. Kesterson had the leading role in approximately nine or ten cheap Westerns as Art Mix. He then played bad guy roles well into the sound era as Art Mix. At some time after starring in Adamson's feature films, Kesterson was sued by Adamson for continuing to use the name of Art Mix.

I was unable to obtain any information on either Victor Adamson or on George Kesterson.

The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films covering the silent era includes the name Denver Dixon under Victor Adamson. I am assuming that a few of the stories were written by Victor Adamson using the Denver Dixon name. In another Art Mix film ("Ace Of Cactus Range") in 1924 the director is given as Denver Dixon. To further complicate things, another Kesterson film, "The Man From The Rio Grande," was produced by Denver Dixon Productions.

The AFI Catalog does not list this film the film reviewed here, and none of the other members of the cast are listed in the AFI catalogs covering the silent era.

copyright 2003 by John DeBartolo. All rights reserved.

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