Black and white, Silent, 1912
Directed by Francis Ford, Thomas Ince
Runtime: 41 minutes
Starring (cast is uncredited): Francis Ford (Colonel James Bryson), William Eagle Shirt (The Sioux Chief), Ethel Grandin (Colonel Bryson's Daughter), Ann Little (Sky Star), Art Acord (Telegrapher), Ray Myers (Lieutenant White)
The Invaders opens to the signing of a treaty between the Sioux and the U.S. Army. We see a written page of the treaty that reads, "in consideration of the above lands being ceded to the United States, the said government will forbid the settlement of the remaining tribal lands of the Sioux Nation." Both groups sign the paper and shake hands.
A year later, a group of surveyors arrives at the Army base to survey the surrounding area for the Transcontinental Railroad. The surveyors decline any Army escort from Colonel James Bryson and begin their work.
The film cuts to an introduction of the Sioux chief's daughter, Sky Star, who is being courted by a Sioux man whom he does not care for. He brings four horses to offer as a bride price, but she still protests. Her father, however, appears to want her marriage to this man.
Later, while out picking flowers, she is spotted by the head surveyor. He is immediately smitten with her. As he approaches her, it becomes clear that she returns his interest. From a distance, her Sioux suitor looks on in jealous anger. He sneaks up behind them, follows the head surveyor to his camp, and returns to tell the Chief of their presence on Sioux land.
The Sioux visit Colonel Bryson to inform him of the breach in their agreement. Bryson is unable to explain the situation to their satisfaction, and the Sioux convince the Cheyenne to join them in fighting what they see as an invasion of their remaining land.
The Sioux and Cheyenne plan their attack. Sky Star overhears this and rides off to warn the surveyors. She falls from her horse, is hurt badly, and is unable to warn them in time; the surveyors are killed. When she is able, Sky Star reaches the post to warn the army. Bryson's daughter tends to her injuries.
A dusty, smoky, chaotic battle ensues between the army and combined Sioux and Cheyenne forces outside the walls of the post. The Indians then attack the men who remain within the walls of the post, including Bryson and White. The Indians burn down the telegraph pole before the army is able to wire for help. Lieutenant White volunteers to ride to the next post for reinforcements.
Colonel Bryson tries to stall the fighting by claiming Shy Star is a hostage in the post. The Chief demands to speak with her, but when Bryson goes to her he finds she has died from her injuries. The fighting resumes. Bryson is down to his final bullet, and his daughter pleads with him to shoot her out of mercy, as the post is nearly defeated and will soon be taken by the Indians. As he is about to shoot her in the head, White arrives with reinforcements to overcome the Indians. Bryson, his daughter, and White return to the bed where Sky Star lays dead, looking upon her with grief.
Plot keywords: U.S. Army post, cavalry, Indian treaty, Sioux, Cheyenne, Indian attack, transcontinental railroad
Scenery: scrubby, hilly
The Invaders is available on DVD as part of the collection More Treasures From American Film Archives, Disc 1. It is also available online at The Internet Archive.
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