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~The Toll Gate~
1920
SilentHollywood.com
SilentHollywood.com
~Anna Q. Nilsson~
~William S. Hart~
~Plot Synopsis~
"The Raiders," an outlaw band led by Black Deering (William S. Hart), has eluded the law for three
years. After Jordan (Joseph Singleton), Deering's "lieutenant," convinces the band, against Deering's
wishes, to perform one last train robbery, the band is met by an army waiting for them on the train.
Deering is captured and Jordan receives a reward. An officer, remembering that Deering earlier rode
eighty miles to warn an army post of an impending Apache attack, convinces the others to look away
while Deering escapes. At a border town, Deering robs and burns down Jordan's cantina and is pursued
by Jordan's band of Mexicans and the sheriff's posse. Because Deering rescues a drowning child
(Richard Headrick), the child's mother, Mary Brown (Anna Q. Nilsson), allows him to pose as her
husband. Learning that Mary is Jordan's deserted wife, Deering is tempted to rape her to avenge
himself against Jordan, but overcomes his anger. After Deering assists the posse to route the Mexicans,
he struggles with Jordan and pushes him off a cliff. Allowed to go free because they are in Mexico,
Deering kisses Mary, who returns to the United States. What makes this western very unusual for its
time (or any time, for that matter) is the lack of the traditional happy ending. Although pardoned by the
sheriff for killing Singleton, Hart refuses to marry the widow despite their obvious love for one another
because he deems himself unworthy after killing her husband. Critics have bemoaned such "Hart-isms,"
but the decision actually seems quite logical and understandable this time. This was the first film Hart
made after leaving Thomas Ince and organizing his own production company. Leading lady Anna Q.
Nilsson was Scandinavia's first gift to the American film industry. Arriving in New York as a domestic
around 1905, the Swedish beauty rose to screen stardom in the early to mid-1910s without the benefit
of a single acting lesson. Hollywood chronicler Adela Rogers St. Johns later termed the actress the
screen's "only blond vamp."

Plot Synopsis is a combination of Plot Synopses from allmovie.com and afi.com
Directed by: Lambert Hillyer    

Written by:
William S. Hart   (story "By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them") uncredited
Lambert Hillyer - writer
~Cast~

William S. Hart ...  Black Deering
Anna Q. Nilsson ...  Mary Brown
Joseph Singleton ...  Tom Jordan
Jack Richardson ...  The Sheriff
Richard Headrick ...  The Little Feller
Fritz the Horse ...  (uncredited)
Bill Patton ...  Hank Simmons (uncredited)
Leo Willis ...  (uncredited)
~Remaining Credits~

Production Company: William S. Hart Productions

Distribution Company: Paramount-Artcraft Pictures

Executive Producer: William S. Hart  
Cinematography by: Joseph H. August  
Film Editing by: LeRoy Stone  
Art Direction by: Thomas A. Brierley  
Assistant Director: William Hughes Curran  
Art Titles: Harry Barndollar  
Second Camera Operator: Dwight Warren  
Presenter: Samuel Bischoff
Technical Director: J.C. Hoffner

Length: 5 Reels
Runtime: 73 Minutes
Released: April 15, 1920
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imdb.com - general information (data base form)
allmovie.com - plot synopsis
tcm.com - general information also including plot synopsis
afi.com - general information