A Mormon Maid

A Mormon Maid is a 1917 American silent drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and written by Charles Sarver and Paul West. While traveling westward with her family, Dora must face the proposal to become a Mormon elders sixth wife. The film stars Mae Murray, Frank Borzage, Hobart Bosworth, Edythe Chapman, Noah Beery, Sr., and Richard Henry Cummings. The film was released on April 22, 1917, by Paramount Pictures.[1][2]

A Mormon Maid
Mae Murray in the film
Directed byRobert Z. Leonard
Produced byJesse L. Lasky
Screenplay byCharles Sarver
Paul West
StarringMae Murray
Frank Borzage
Hobart Bosworth
Edythe Chapman
Noah Beery, Sr.
Richard Henry Cummings
CinematographyCharles Rosher
Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • April 22, 1917 (1917-04-22)
Running time
50 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


Set in the 1840s during the Mormon migration westward, this film introduces a young woman named Dora and her family as they travel west. After being saved from an Indian attack by a Mormon community, the family joins their wagon train traveling to Utah. Throughout the film, Dora is pursued by two men, one a recent convert to the church and the other a scheming elder with multiple wives. Dora's mother ends up killing herself due to her revolution towards polygamy, leaving Dora to consider her own future and the man she loves. [3] The elder is a former aspotle of the church and is determined to have Dora as his sixth wife. After refusing to marry him Dora eventually ends up killing the old man as he tries to capture her for his own. To summarize, the plot of this film explores the implications of Dora's rejection to become a polygamist wife. [4]



Like many American films of the time, A Mormon Maid was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. The Chicago Board of Censors cut two intertitles, "I am not a –" and "You have scoffed at our faith – now you will pay."[5] Many towns received this film with open arms, misunderstanding the film as an expose on Mormonism and the religions practices. One newspaper even went so far as to link the film to the K. K. K. [6]


  1. "A-Mormon-Maid - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  2. "A Mormon Maid". AFI. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  3. "Description". A Mormon maid (1917). c. 2000s. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  4. "Refuses to Become Wife Number Six!". The Buffalo Evening Times. 22 May 1917. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
  5. "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. 5 (11): 33. September 8, 1917.
  6. "Apollo". The Dayton Herald. 28 Feb 1920. Retrieved 2019-07-03.

Further reading

  • Nelson, Richard Alan (1987). "Commercial Propaganda in the Silent Film: A Case Study of 'A Mormon Maid' (1917)". Film History. Indiana University Press. 1 (2): 149–62. JSTOR 3815086.
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