Bill Hart Mows 'Em Down in Knight Of The Trail (1915)
William S. Hart has another romance impeded by
road agent/badman past. The title is tip to Bill's essential goodness; as was
case in so many of his, it only took a right woman to sever ties withoutlawry.
Any Hart yarn could be told in two reels, reason maybe for his early shorts
being a best intro to the cowboy immortal's stuff. Bill would invariably start
as a man with secrets and emotions pent up, payoff deriving from disposal of
no-goods that have misled the gal he loves or town he protects. Knight Of The
Trail situates Hart alone in crowds, seldom facing others at the
bar, a solitary drinker even when surrounded. At cards he's disengaged, unless
someone cheats, then it's hell from both barrels. There were more close-ups for
Hart than was accorded most stars, his face a reliable map to where stories
were headed. Being older, and looking it, relieved Bill of action expectation a
Tom Mix would have, and that eventually made his stuff seem quaint. Hart's
approach by nature wouldn't change with times, but he had a nice run and kept
standards high at work he did.