Back to God's Country (October 29, 1919)

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Nell Shipman in Back to God's Country
 

Released on October 29, 1947: A young girl raised in the Canadian wilderness encounters an evil ship captain who kills her father and tries to kill her husband so that he can have his way with her.

Produced by Ernest Shipman and James Oliver Curwood

Directed by David Hartford

The Actors: Nell Shipman (Dolores LeBeau), Charles Arling (Sealskin Blake), Wheeler Oakman (Peter Burke), Wellington A. Playter (Captain Rydal), Ronald Byram (original Peter Burke, in some long shots), William Colvin (Mountie shot while arresting Rydal), Roy Laidlaw (Baptiste LeBeau, Dolores' father), Kewpie Morgan (man in bar who shoots the Chinaman), Charles Murphy (Rydal's half-breed side-kick)

 

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The Perils of Dolores

Nell Shipman was a strong woman in the pioneer days of North America when only the strong women survived. She was born Helen Foster-Barham in 1892 in Victoria, British Columbia. She was a born actress but more than that, she was a strong, independent minded woman. In 1910 she married theater manager Ernest Shipman and they moved to Hollywood so that Nell could take her acting passion to the next level. After working in several movies Nell sold a story that she wrote to Universal and by 1915 had saved enough of her earnings that she produced, directed and starred in a story written by James Oliver Curwood called "God's Country and the Woman," becoming not only one of the first female producers and directors, but the first director to shoot mostly on outdoor locations instead of on a movie set. This rare surviving movie is the sequel to "God's Country and the Woman," and her husband Ernest was the Executive Producer. Unlike most movies then and today, this adventure covers many years of Canadian wilderness girl Dolores LeBeau's life, not just one incident. We first meet Dolores as a young girl at home in the Canadian wilderness with her father where she marries a young surveyor and meets a wandering ship's captain on the run from a murder charge who attacks her and then kills her father. Then we see Nell and her husband in city life with Nell yearning to return to the wilderness and all of the wild animals she was friendly with. But her husband must make a voyage on one more expedition and he and Nell wind up on a ship with the evil Captain Rydal, who killed her father and attacked her years ago. Nell must be strong again as the Captain now tries to kill her husband and force himself on her again. Early in the movie we met a Great Dane dog named Wapi, who is mistreated after his owner is killed in a bar, and this sad and mistreated dog will enter the story again, becoming Nell's friend and savior when the world comes crashing down around her. In real life Nell always fought against animal cruelty not only in the movies but in the world at large. She collected stray and abused animals and at one time had more than 200 animals to care for. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and enjoy a slice of cinematic history and drama with one strong and smart silent screen star.

Charles Arling makes a fist in Back to God's Country
Charles Arling makes a fist in Back to God's Country
Charles Murphy
Charles Murphy
Nell Shipman is attacked by Captain Rydal
Nell Shipman is attacked by Captain Rydal
Nell Shipman and Wheeler Oakman
Nell Shipman and Wheeler Oakman
Nell Shipman tries to pull away from Wellington A. Playter
Nell Shipman tries to pull away from Wellington A. Playter
Nell Shipman in Back to God's Country
Nell Shipman in Back to God's Country
Nell Shipman spots the evil Captain Rydal
Nell Shipman spots the evil Captain Rydal
Nell Shipman and Wheeler Oakman
Nell Shipman and Wheeler Oakman
Nell Shipman
Nell Shipman
Roy Laidlaw and Wheeler Oakman
Roy Laidlaw and Wheeler Oakman
Roy Laidlaw
Roy Laidlaw
Roy Laidlaw as Baptiste LeBeau
Roy Laidlaw as Baptiste LeBeau
Wellington A. Playter and Nell Shipman
Wellington A. Playter and Nell Shipman
Wellington A. Playter dressed in the Mountie's clothing
Wellington A. Playter dressed in the Mountie's clothing
Wellington A. Playter
Wellington A. Playter
Wheeler Oakman in Back to God's Country
Wheeler Oakman in Back to God's Country