The Female of the Species (1912)

Film details

Synopsis

MELODRAMA. A mining family attempts to cross a desert to civilization. Along the journey the miner makes advances to a young woman. His wife and sister decide to seek revenge.

Flash main title. "The survivors of the deserted mining camp" (6). A miner, his wife and sister talk. There are mountains in the background and tents in the foreground. The miner indicates that they all must move on. The wife and sister speak to a young woman, the sole survivor of a nearby family (81). "They start their race with death to the deserts rim" (90). The family and the young woman load a mule and prepare for the journey across the desert (122). "The first rest" (126). Exhausted and thirsty, the miner collapses. Taking a water carrier his wife and sister go in search of water. The sister looks uneasy at the fact they are leaving the young woman alone with the miner. As they are looking for water the sister suggests that the wife spies on her husband; she does so but sees nothing (194). "Man's dominant vagary" The miner, in his exhaustion and weakness, makes unwelcome advances to the young woman. His wife and sister return having seen the encounter from a distance. The wife attacks the young woman, pulling her hair, but is restrained by her husband. The miner then collapses and dies. The wife accuses the young woman; the young woman pleads innocence (265). "The desert grave - the wife wrongly suspects the girl" (274). The wife shovels earth into her husband's grave watched by her sister-in-law and the young woman in the background. She throws herself distraught on the grave bent on vengeance (356). "On the terrible way" (359). They all embark on a journey through the desert (417). "The wife and the sister half mad with lonely brooding, obsessed with vengeance" (427). The journey continues amid a dust storm. The wife attempts to attack the young woman but is again restrained. The wife takes out a gun put then puts it back in the holster. Her sister-in-law gives her a hatchet she has been holding. The young woman, who has been walking ahead of them, collapses. She rouses herself and looks at the wife; the wife realises she cannot kill her (581). "Next morning" (582). The wife invites the young woman to continue the journey with them (625). "The Indian family athirst" (629). An Indian man staggering along; behind him is an Indian woman carrying a baby. Exhausted she almost collapses. Her husband comes across two men asleep on the ground. He steals their water bottle. They wake up and one of the men, seeing the Indian man running away, shoots and kills him. The two men go over to the dead body and reclaim the water bottle. The Indian woman collapses on the ground. The three woman stagger on exhausted (722). "Worn out she falls asleep" (728). The young woman collapses on the ground and falls asleep. The two women go over to her and the wife decides to kill her; the wife raises a hatchet. Cut to the Indian woman, now dead, with the baby in her arms. The two women hear the baby's cry. They run to find the baby. The young woman wakes up and also follows the sound of the baby. The three woman are united in their care for the baby. The wife puts her arms around the young woman. They continue their journey with the baby (943). "The End" (944ft).

Note: Nitrate damage throughout the first 150ft.

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