Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Henry King|
|Produced by||Henry King|
|Written by||Joseph Hergesheimer (novel)
Walter P. Lewis
|Editing by||W. Duncan Mansfield|
|Release date(s)||December 31, 1921 (USA)|
|Running time||99 minutes|
A major box office success, the acclaimed film was voted a Photoplay Magazine 1921 "medal of honor" and is seen by critics and viewers as one of the classics of silent film.
- Richard Barthelmess as David Kinemon
- Gladys Hulette as Esther Hatburn
- Walter P. Lewis as Iscah Hatburn
- Ernest Torrence as Luke Hatburn
- Ralph Yearsley as Saul "Little Buzzard" Hatburn
- Forrest Robinson as Grandpa Hatburn
Young David Kinemon, son of West Virginia tenant farmers, longs to be treated like a man by his family and neighbors, especially Esther Hatburn, the pretty girl who lives with her grandfather on a nearby farm. However, he is continually reminded that he is still a boy, "tol'able" enough, but no man.
He eventually gets a chance to prove himself when outlaw Iscah Hatburn and his sons Luke and "Little Buzzard," distant cousins of the Kinemon's Hatburn neighbors, move into the Hatburn farm, against the will of Esther and her grandfather. Esther initially tells David not to interfere, saying he's no match for her cousins. Later, the cousins kill David's pet dog and cripple his older brother while the latter is delivering mail and taking passengers to town in his "hack" wagon. David's father sets out to administer vigilante justice on the Hatburn cousins (the sheriff doesn't have the means to deal with the outlaws himself), but has a heart attack. David is determined to go after the Hatburns in his father's place, but his mother talks him out of it, arguing that with his father dead and brother crippled, the household, including his brother's wife and infant son, depends on him. The family is then turned out of the farm and are forced to move into a small house in town. David asks for his brother's old job of driving the hack but is told he is too young. He does find work at the general store though. Later, when the hack's regular driver is fired for drunkenness, David finally has a chance to drive the hack. He loses the mailbag near the Hatburn farm, where it is found by Luke. David goes to the Hatburn farm to demand the mailbag. He is refused and gets into an argument with the cousins, during which he is shot in the arm. David then shoots Iscah and the younger son and later, after a prolonged fight with the older brother (meant to recall the story of David and Goliath), emerges victorious. Esther flees for help and makes it to the village, telling that David has been killed. As a crowd prepares to go look for David, he although injured, arrives in the hack with the bag of mail. It is clear to all that David, no longer merely "tol'able," is a real man and a hero.
Other adaptations 
- Harold Lloyd's The Kid Brother (1927) was a highly-regarded comedy film that used a similar plot, and also featured Tol'able David actor Ralph Yearsley. Lloyd said in later years that it was his favorite of his own films.
- The less successful 1930 "talkie" remake was directed by John G. Blystone for Columbia Pictures Corporation and starred Richard Cromwell, Noah Beery, and Joan Peers.
Additional info 
This movie is being shown in the theater in the 1959 horror movie The Tingler
- Tol'able David at the Internet Movie Database
- Tol'able David is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- Tol'able David at AllRovi
- Tol'able David at Virtual History