About the Film
Ostracized from white society, Lo Dorman, a half-breed, lives in the forest on the outskirts of town with his adopted Indian grandfather. While there, he meets another outcast, Teresa, who has run away from authorities after stabbing her unfaithful lover. Seeing her from a distance, Sheriff Dunn mistakes Teresa for Nellie, his sweetheart, and, believing that she has begun an affair with Lo, decides to kill him. Because she has gone through some of Lo’s possessions, Teresa knows that Dunn is really his father, but as she tries to explain this to the sheriff, a forest fire breaks out. Lo tries to rescue both Teresa and Dunn, but finally must make a choice between them, and, unaware of their relationship, decides to leave Dunn to die. He is able to save Teresa, whom he later marries. American Film Institute
About the Restoration
A Library of Congress print of The Half-Breed’s original Fine Arts Corporation Pictures release in 1916 came from the infamous 1978 Dawson City find, when hundreds of pre-World War I films at the end of their distribution line were uncovered buried in a swimming pool in the former Gold Rush town in the Canadian Yukon. While closest to the original release, this nitrate print could only be used for intertitles and a small number of indispensable shots, including portions of Jack Brace’s pursuit of Teresa through the redwoods. The only other surviving 35mm source of the film is a 1924 re-release of the film held by the Cinémathèque française, which contributed 90 percent of the photographic shots used in the reconstruction. Finally, a 16mm abridgement print, provided by France’s Lobster Films, filled in some missing scenes, such as the fight between Lo Dorman and the group of drunken Indians in front of Nellie Wynn’s house.
San Francisco Silent Film Festival
Film Preservation Society