12 user 2 critic

'49-'17 (1917)

Unrated | | Drama, Western | 15 October 1917 (USA)
A retired judge comes West to restore a ghost town.


Ruth Ann Baldwin


William Wallace Cook (short story "The Old West Per Contract"), Ruth Ann Baldwin (scenario)


Learn more

More Like This 

A House Divided I (1913)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A married couple decide to "live separately together."

Director: Alice Guy
Stars: Fraunie Fraunholz, Marian Swayne
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A family feud erupts in the mountains of Kentucky.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Dustin Farnum, Winifred Kingston, Herbert Standing
Her Defiance (1916)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Adeline falls in love with Frank, but her brother Theron wants her to marry rich Old Scapin, though she is carrying Frank's baby.

Directors: Joe King, Cleo Madison
Stars: Cleo Madison, Taylor N. Duncan, Edward Hearn
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An abused woman finds love in the arms of a famous novelist.

Director: Alice Guy
Stars: Carlyle Blackwell, Doris Kenyon, Edgar Norton
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Charlie is a clumsy waiter in a cheap cabaret and must endure the strict orders from his boss. He meets a pretty girl in the park and pretends to be a fancy ambassador but must contend with the jealousy of her fiancé.

Director: Mabel Normand
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand, Dan Albert
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Mabel is engaged to Harry, the boss's son. The boss has an eye for Mabel too, in this gender-bending comedy of errors and mistaken identities.

Director: Mabel Normand
Stars: Mabel Normand, Harry McCoy, Charley Chase
Salomé (1922)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Salome, the daughter of Herodias, seduces her step-father/uncle Herod, governor of Judea, with a salacious dance. In return, he promises her the head of the prophet John the Baptist.

Directors: Charles Bryant, Alla Nazimova
Stars: Alla Nazimova, Nigel De Brulier, Mitchell Lewis
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After receiving an inheritance from an uncle, a woman sets up a fortunetelling business.

Director: Elsie Jane Wilson
Stars: Carmel Myers, Thomas Holding, Kathleen Emerson
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Trixie Thompson concludes that the only way she could save her sister from dying of the "white plague" is by preventing the autumn leaves from falling. Little Trixie knows all this because ... See full summary »

Director: Alice Guy
Stars: Mace Greenleaf, Blanche Cornwall, Marian Swayne
Broadway Love (1918)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A small-town girl goes to New York hoping to become a star on Broadway, but the best she can do are roles as chorus girls. She falls in with a "fast" crowd, notably a "party girl" named ... See full summary »

Director: Ida May Park
Stars: Dorothy Phillips, Juanita Hansen, William Stowell
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The members of a Chinese family living in the US have a curse put upon them for becoming too "westernized".

Director: Marian E. Wong
Stars: Violet Wong, Harvey Soo Hoo, Marian E. Wong
Short | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A city girl revenuer spies on illegal whiskey making in the hills.

Director: Grace Cunard
Stars: Grace Cunard, Cole Hebert, Gordon Griffith


Complete credited cast:
Joseph W. Girard ... Judge Brand (as Joseph Girard)
Leo Pierson ... Tom Reeves - aka Tom Robbins
William Dyer William Dyer ... J. Gordon Castle (as William J. Dyer)
Mattie Witting Mattie Witting ... Ma Bobbett (as Martha Witting)
George C. Pearce ... Ezra Pa Bobbett (as George Pearce)
Jean Hersholt ... 'Gentleman Jim' Raynor
Donna Drew Donna Drew ... Peggy Bobbett


A judge who had taken part in the gold rush of 1849 hires an acting troupe to recreate the experience in this rather fanciful silent Western. The make-believe turns serious when a real gold-mine is discovered nearby and a local girl is kidnapped by a nasty gambler. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Western


Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 October 1917 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Old West Per Contract See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The first Western to be directed by a woman. See more »


Title Card: Everybody was pleased except Tom - for what business has a penniless young man making love to an heiress?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Kino International Corp. copyrighted and released a video in 2000, produced by Jessica Rosner with a piano score composed and performed by Jon Mirsalis. It was made from a Library of Congress preservation print and runs 63 minutes. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Nonsensical Western
14 January 2010 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

I'd like to hear the story of how this mess of a movie came to be. The home video description goes out of the way to call it a parody, but a viewing offers no support of this. No, rather, this is the kind of film that deserves to be parodied. Part of the story is similar to another 1917 Western, Douglas Fairbanks's "Wild and Woolly", which was intentionally comical. In both films, a fake Western town is made to please the notions of a man from New York of the old West. As opposed to "Wild and Woolly", however, the old judge in this picture knows it's fake because he planned it--in an attempt to relive his youth as a '49er (that is, a gold digger in California's Gold Rush of the 1840s-1850s). The only seeming attempt at humor here is some gunplay by the judge that frightens the troupe of actors for his re-created town.

That "'49-'17" isn't a comedy or parody isn't the problem; rather, that was an unused solution to its mess. Instead, the filmmakers appear to have tried to cover the film up with a lot of title cards, which seem to have reworked the original scenario, as the titles and what we see don't always add up. There may have been some considerable editing done, too, as the resulting film today is choppy in places. None of this avoids what remains a sloppy, poorly-paced story, though.

Furthermore, the story's chronology and sense of aging is illogical. Through many flashbacks, the plot moves back and forth between the judge's days as a '49er to the present year of 1917 (hence the title). That's a time gap of 60 years or more, depending on when the judge took part in California's gold rush. The judge's aging between these periods is the closest to being plausible; the rest makes no sense. The baddie Gentleman Jim Raynor and his accomplice appear in '49 and '17 with the exact same appearance, as men somewhere around their 30s. Peggy is suggested as being a once-abandoned child from the gold rush, but she can't be any older than in her 20s by 1917. Additionally, the film is full of Western melodramatic contrivances and clichés, which just become boring when constructed so poorly and situated among such enormous continuity problems. F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre already took the fitting pun for an IMDb review title for this film: fool's gold, indeed.

One part I found interesting was Jean Hersholt's image as Gentleman Jim Raynor, who's clearly signified as the bad cowboy by his black dress and goatee, and he carried a mean look throughout the picture. Too bad such skillful character acting is wasted on this mess.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 12 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed