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Nomads of the North (1920)


Nanette Roland lives an unhappy existence in the Northwoods; her father dies leaving her no money, and her fiancee, Raoul Challoner, has gone off trapping for pelts, and has disappeared. She does not want to marry Duncan McDougall's son, Buck, until she is convinced that Raoul is dead. Buck fabricates evidence that Raoul is dead, and Nanette reluctantly agrees to marry him. She is about to be wed when Raoul returns and spirits her away from the ceremony. Raoul and Nanette are married, but Buck goads Raoul into a fight, during which one of Buck's men, Black Marat, is accidentally killed. Raoul is accused of murder and arrested, but Nanette rescues him from jail and they flee into the woods in his canoe. Corporal O'Connor, a dedicated mountie and admirer of Nanette, is ordered after the fugitives. Three years later, Raoul, his wife and baby are living deep in the woods when they are discovered by Buck and O'Connor. O'Connor arrests Raoul, who yields without a struggle, and he and his family begin the trip back when they are trapped by a great forest fire. Buck is caught drunk in a cabin and is destroyed by the fire. Raoul has an opportunity to escape when O'Connor is trapped, but he saves the mountie's life instead. O'Connor sets him free, and says that he will report Raoul as dead. O'Connor leaves the happy family, as they plan to start life anew in the wilderness.

File:Nomads of the North (1920).webm
Nomads of the North is a 1920 American film featuring Lon Chaney, Sr. and Lewis Stone. A Canadian Mountie allows an innocent fugitive to escape with the woman he loves. The film is based on the 1919 novel of the same name by American author James Oliver Curwood.


  • Betty Blythe - Nanette Roland
  • Lon Chaney, Sr. - Raoul Challoner
  • Lewis Stone - Corporal O'Connor
  • Francis McDonald - Buck McDougall
  • Spottiswoode Aitken - Old Roland
  • Melbourne MacDowell - Duncan McDougall
  • Charles A. Smiley - The Parson


When impoverished Nanette Roland uses to marry Buck McDougall until she is convinced that her long-absent fiancé, Raoul Challoner, is dead, Buck obtains false evidence of Challoner's death and Nanette yields to his wishes. At their wedding ceremony, Raoul appears and is about to take Nanette away, when Buck attacks him and, in the ensuing battle, Raoul accidentally kills a man and is arrested. That night, Nanette helps him escape and, after a hasty wedding, they flee into the wilderness. Corporal O'Connor of the North-West Mounted Police is given the assignment of capturing him, and three years later, the Mountie, aided by Buck, discovers Raoul's cabin in the woods. Just as he arrests the fugitive, a forest fire breaks out, trapping Nanette, Raoul and their baby in the flames. O'Connor, injured by a fallen tree, is rescued by Raoul and the four reach safety, but Buck perishes in the fire. O'Connor, feeling a debt of gratitude, agrees to testify to Raoul's death and the family realizes that their troubles are at an end.


Betty Blythe and Lon Chaney were burned while filming the forest fire scene when a blaze that popped up unexpectedly blocked their escape. They were rescued through a tunnel that had been previously built for just such an occurrence, but filming was stopped for ten days while the actors recovered in a local hospital.
The crew erected a phony forest on the Universal lot, with fake trees,trimmed with natural foliage, planted in the ground,barked and painted. The forest fire was filmed with 6 cameras.
Although the film was not viewed, onscreen credit information was obtained from a print of the film at the National Archives of Canada. Actor Charles A. Smiley's surname is incorrectly spelled "Smily" in the film's credits. The 1961 Disney production Nikki, Wild Dog of the North (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961–70; F6.3499) is also based on James Oliver Curwood's novel, but the plots of the two films are not similar. A modern source states that the 1953 Allied Artists film Northern Patrol is also based on Curwood's novel, but, again, its plot does not resemble those of the other two films.
  • Article on Nomads of the North at the TCM Movie Database
  • {{{Category:1920 films
    Category:American films
    Category:American silent feature films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:Royal Canadian Mounted Police in fiction

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