The Squaw Man (play)

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The Squaw Man
Squaw Man 1914.jpg
Theatrical poster for The Squaw Man.
Written byEdwin Milton Royle
CharactersCapt. James Wynnegate aka Jim Carson
Nat-u-ritch
Date premieredOctober 23, 1905
Place premieredWallack's Theatre, Broadway
Original languageEnglish
GenreWestern/Drama
SettingAmerican Old West

The Squaw Man is a 1905 western/drama stage play in four acts written by Edwin Milton Royle.

It debuted on October 23, 1905, at the Wallack's Theatre, Broadway, starring William Faversham in the title role, as Captain James Wynnegate also known as Jim Carson. The doomed bad man, Cash Hawkins, was played by William S. Hart. Directed by Edwin Milton Royle and William Faversham, The Squaw Man was produced by Liebler & Company.

Receiving significant critical acclaim,[1][2] the play ran for 222 performances before closing on April 1, 1906.

The Squaw Man has had four Broadway revivals, in 1907, 1908, 1911 and 1921. The 1911 revival starring Dustin Farnum ran for only eight performances. The 1921 revival starring William Faversham at the Astor Theatre ran for 50 performances.

Adaptations[edit]

The story has also been adapted into a novel, three films and a musical. All three films were directed by Cecil B. DeMille.

Opening night cast[edit]

Poster for the original production of The Squaw Man (1905)
Poster for the original production of The Squaw Man (1905)

Synopsis[edit]

William Faversham and Selene Johnson

The first act of the play is set in England in the 1800s. The lead character is Capt. James Wynnegate. His older cousin, heir Henry Wynnegate, Earl of Kerhill, steals from the family trust fund and speculates heavily. Henry loses the fortune, causing them to default on a commitment to an orphans' home.

Capt. Wynnegate is in love with Henry's wife, Diana. She does not love her husband and returns the affection of the captain. As the money has been lost, Capt. Wynnegate agrees to leave England and take the blame (see remittance man). He is then accused of being a thief, which allows Henry to avoid suspicion and protects the name and the reputation of his wife.

He goes to the Wild West of Montana, where he buys the Red Butte Ranch and makes a name for himself under the alias Jim Carson. In the second act, several years later, Henry and Diana show up. The bad man, Cash Hawkins, is about to shoot Jim when the Ute Indian maiden, Nat-u-ritch, shoots Hawkins from the sidelines and saves Jim's life.

Nat-u-ritch, who is the daughter of Chief Tab-y-wana, rescues Jim several more times, it is revealed through exposition in the third act. They fall in love and have a son, Little Hal. Jim marries Nat-u-ritch. The marriage between a white man in his social position and an Indian woman is deemed scandalous.

By the fourth act, more time has passed and Diana comes West again with news that Henry has died. The English solicitor shows up and persuades Jim that Hal should be taken to England and raised as the heir to the large Wynnegate estate. Jim agrees to send the boy away.

Apparently, Jim and his social group believe it is his right to take the child away from his mother. Nat-u-ritch's father, Chief Tab-y-wana's resolve is not much different. At the first sign of disobedience the chief voices his sentiment where a woman is concerned. "If she will not obey, beat her. If she disobeys again, kill her."

Knowing that she is going to lose her son, and hearing that she will be arrested for killing Hawkins, Nat-u-ritch commits suicide. Now Jim is free to be with his English woman. The play concludes with the Indian chief standing stoically erect with the pathetically limp figure of the little mother squaw, his daughter, lying across his outstretched arms, the reversal of the usual Pieta.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The New York Times, Oct. 24, 1905, "How The Squaw Man Is Not The Shawman --- Effective Western Scenes and Noble Attitudes --- To Fit Mr. Faversham --- And All Except the First Act Seems to Please the House," p. 6.
  2. ^ The New York Times, Oct. 29, 1905, "A New Idyl Of The West --- Edwin Milton Royle's Play, "The Squaw Man," a Sincere and Convincing Study—The Noble Red Man in a True Stage Light," p. X4.

External links[edit]