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Tide of Empire (1929)

Passed | | Western | 23 March 1929 (USA)
California's gold dicovery in 1848 draws a "tide of empire" to the area, which becomes ripe for bandits.


Allan Dwan


Peter B. Kyne (based upon the novel by), Joseph Farnham (titles) (as Joe Farnham)


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Complete credited cast:
Renée Adorée ... Josephita Guerrero
Tom Keene ... Dermod D'Arcy (as George Duryea)
George Fawcett ... Don Jose Guerrero
William Collier Jr. ... Romauldo Guerrero
Fred Kohler ... Cannon
James Bradbury Sr. James Bradbury Sr. ... B. Jabez Bejabbers Harmon
Harry Gribbon ... O'Shea
Paul Hurst ... Poppy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rosita Delmar Rosita Delmar


The discovery of gold in California in 1848 brings a tide of gold seekers to the area, disrupting the lives of the Guerrero family who have owned nearby Rancho Chico for generations. Among these are Dermod D'Arcy, in partners with a jailer, Bejabbers. At a fiesta where horse races are traditionally run, a stranger notices Dermod's exceptionally fast horse, Pathfinder, and urges him to enter the horse in the race. It becomes a three-horse race, with Don José Guerrero betting his ranch that his horse will win. When Pathfinder wins, Dermod takes the ranch as his share of the winnings and gives it to Don José's daughter, Josephita, with whom he had fallen in love earlier, when he met her. Dermod and Bejabbers leave to search for gold, and the town grows rich as more and more gold is amassed. Meanwhile, a bandit chief, Cannon, met Josephita's brother, Romauldo, and forced him to join the gang, which planned to loot the town of its gold before Wells and Fargo shipped it east. As two of the ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 March 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La naissance d'un empire See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (music score and sound effects only)| Silent (alternate version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Allan Dwan recalled that Buster Keaton made an uncredited cameo appearance as a drunken cowboy getting tossed out of a saloon. The comedian visited the set one day and did the bit purely as a surprise gag; Dwan claimed he kept it in the film (while a couple of production stills showing Keaton (in costume and make-up) posing with the main cast survive, his scene has not been identified in existing prints) and said that Keaton, who had just signed with MGM and was about to begin work on "The Cameraman", the stunt "wasn't part of the scene at all . . . He did the stunt to amuse the Talmadge girls--he was married to Natalie Talmadge--who were on the set." See more »


B. Jabez Bejabbers Harmon: Heck! Gettin' a wife's like gettin' hives... and not havin' finger-nails!
See more »


My Pony Boy
(1909) (uncredited)
Music by Charley O'Donnell
Lyrics by Bobby Heath
Played during the race and chase scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

A routine western set in the gold country of California during the 1848 gold rush.
24 November 1998 | by Art-22See all my reviews

I got a kick out of this film mostly because it is set in the area where I live, the gold country of California, which is now also celebrating the sesquicentennial of the discovery of gold. But the film is very routine, with Tom Keene going into partnership with jailer James Bradbury, Sr. to search for gold. There is a love interest, Renée Adorée, a bad guy in the person of Fred Kohler who leads a gang looking to loot the gold amassed in the town, and some suspense when Kohler forces Adorée's brother, William Collier, Jr., to join the gang against his will and participate in the raid. The gang is in for a big surprise when Keene overhears their plans. There's almost no comedy in the film.

The film was caught in the transition to sound, so it is a silent film with music and sound effects added. It runs at the sound speed which causes the action to speed up, sometimes very noticeably.

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