THE HEART OF TEXAS RYAN
Starring Tom Mix, Bessie Eyton, George Fawcett
THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD
March 3, 1917
"The Heart of Texas Ryan" is a story of the great Southwest, in the Texas borderland, in which Colonel Ryan (George Fawcett) owns a ranch of thousands of acres, over which many more thousands of cattle roam. Texas Ryan (Bessie Eyton), the only child of the grim, old Colonel, arrives at the old ranch home early in the story after completing her education in an Eastern college.
Jack Parker (Tom Mix), a devil-may-care cowpuncher, a stranger from nowhere, is the ablest hand on Colonel Ryan's cowboy force, and always gets into a scrape when he visits the nearest town - too much whiskey and a fondness for using his shooting iron being the prevailing causes. That was before Texas Ryan came home for good; but when Jack discovered that she was the original "dream girl," whose photograph he had worshiped for months without knowing that such a beautiful creature as Texas Ryan lived, he became a changed man, and the thrilling adventures in which he figures later are confined to the protection of his employer's interests and to the safety of his daughter, Texas.
Tom Mix is the most picturesque cowboy impersonator in America. His magnificent, reckless riding; the realism of his brawling encounters; his neck-risking in a roundup, in addition to all the other qualities that combine to make a true knight of the plains, always delight or thrill the spectator.
Was there ever a more realistic encounter of its kind than the saloon fight which is forced on Jack Parker by the former road agent, "Dice" McAllister (Frank Campeau), who at the time of the fight is marshal of the Texas village of Red Eye? The finish is made still more impressive by being conducted behind closed doors - in the poker room, into which the bad man has been shoved by the crowd in the barroom. Although both men were supposed to have entered without firearms, a shot is heard, and one of the listening crowed at the door has his face creased by a bullet. A few minutes later, when Colonel Ryan unlocks the door from the outside, the crowd stands aghast at the sight. McAllister is an inanimate heap on the floor, while over him stands Jack (greatly disfigured but still in the ring), holding aloft the spurred boot of he defeated man, whom he had pounded into insensibility after he had shot to kill Jack with a concealed weapon.
Jack Parker's celebration of Independence Day in the village of Red Eye impresses me as being exceedingly humorous. He is positively laden down with fireworks of all kinds, from giant firecrackers to skyrockets. The village constable has warned Jack to keep off the main street; so, to conform with the law, he climbs up forty feet to the small platform over the open water tank, which supplies the village with water, and there begins his bombardment. Owing to his libations he is careless and sets off the whole fireworks. To save himself, he drops into the tank, many feet below; but even there he is almost blown out of the water by the explosion of giant crackers, which have fallen from the platform just in time to go off as they strike the surface.
Jack's brave stand across the borderline, in Mexico, against a band of cow rustlers, among whom are two of his old enemies, will bring another thrill.
George Fawcett's Colonel Ryan is a fine characterization, as is the McAllister of Frank Campeau. Bessie Eyton as Texas Ryan will please her large following of admirers. She takes full advantage of the demands of the part to display her ability as an accomplished equestrienne.
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