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Lean Wolf’s End (Kalem)

June 23, 2011

In February of 1911, the Washington Post reported on what may have been the first national campaign for the censorship of motion pictures due to the negative portrayal of a minority group. In a move that preceded by 4 years similar efforts on behalf of African Americans when D. W. Griffith’s Birth of A Nation was released in 1915, a group of Native American leaders asked “for congressional legislation prohibiting motion picture theaters exhibiting exaggerated pictures of Indian customs.” (“Join War on Pictures: Shoshone Indians Opposed to Five-Cent Theaters, ask for prevention by law” Washington Post 28 February 1911, 6).

Lean Wolf’s End, and most of the other westerns released in 1911 and beyond are a sad testament to the failure of such efforts.

MOVING PICTURE WORLD (17 June 1911): 1355


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