The Avenging Trail

The Avenging Trail is a 1917 American silent drama film, directed by Francis Ford. It stars Harold Lockwood, Sally Crute, and Joseph Dailey, and was released on December 31, 1917.

The Avenging Trail
Directed byFrancis Ford
Produced byFred J. Balshofer
Written byMary Murillo
Fred J. Balshofer
Based onthe short story, "The Adopted Son"
by Max Brand
StarringHarold Lockwood
Sally Crute
Joseph Dailey
CinematographyAntonio Gaudio
Metro Pictures
Yorke Film Corp.
Release date
  • December 31, 1917 (1917-12-31) (US)[1]
Running time
5 reels
CountryUnited States


Gaston Olaf returns home from college and finds out that his father has been murdered, and his timberlands stolen. To extract revenge, he becomes a lumberjack. One day he saves Rose Havens from the unwanted attention of Lefty Red. Impressed with the young man, Dave Taggert replaces Red with Olaf as his lumber supervisor. When Olaf learns of Taggert's plan to cheat Rose out of payment for the lumber his men have felled on her property, Olaf stands up to his boss and demands that Rose receive payment. Olaf refuses to make delivery of the wood until payment is made.

Taggert pretends to concede to Olaf's demands, and makes payment to Rose. However, he orders one of his men, Lefty Red, to go to Rose's place of business and steal the money back. Olaf foils the robbery and he and Lefty Red struggle, with Olaf eventually fatally wounding the Red. Before he dies, Red confesses to having killed Olaf's father at the behest of Taggert.

Olaf exposes Taggert's thieving ways to the entire town, and the two men fight, after which Olaf simply leaves Taggert's fate up to the angry vengeful townspeople. Having saved Rose, the two pledge their love for one another and vow to marry.

Cast list


In early December it was announced that Sally Crute had been engaged as the female lead in the film, to star opposite Harold Lockwood. At the same time it was revealed that Francis Ford would be the director, with producing duties carried out by Fred Balshofer.[2] Also in early December Metro announced that The Avenging Trail would be its final release of the year, scheduling it for December 31.[3] By December 8, all the interior filming had been completed, and work was begun on the exterior scenes.[4] Those exterior scene were shot at a lumber camp near North Conway, New Hampshire.[5][6] While on location, the film's assistant director, Johnnie Waters, was called to active duty in the U.S. Army. He left the location and reported for duty on December 7.[7]

The film was released on December 31, 1917.[8]


The Exhibitors Herald gave the film a mediocre review. They felt the script was "mediocre" and "hackneyed", but felt the pace of the film was good, and the cinematography was excellent. They were also complimentary of the cast, singling out Lockwood's performance.[9]


  1. "The Avenging Trail". American Film Institute. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  2. "Sally Crute Appears With Harold Lockwood". Motion Picture News. December 1, 1917. p. 3814. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  3. "Metro Releases Five Features in December". Motion Picture News. December 1, 1917. p. 3838. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  4. "Lockwood Complete Interiors for "Avenging Trail"". Motion Picture News. December 8, 1917. p. 4001. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  5. "Lockwood and Company Take Scenes in Lumber Camp". Motion Picture News. December 15, 1917. p. 4117. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  6. "News of the Film World". Variety. December 7, 1917. p. 51. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  7. ""Johnnie" Waters Leaves York to Join the Colors". Motion Picture News. December 22, 1917. p. 4324. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  8. "Calendar of Program Publications". Exhibitors Herald. December 29, 1917. p. 3814. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  9. "Harold Lockwood in "The Avenging Trail"". Exhibitors Herald. January 12, 1918. p. 26. Retrieved December 5, 2019.

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