Three Who Paid

Three Who Paid is a 1923 American silent Western melodrama[8] film directed by Colin Campbell,[2][8] and starring Dustin Farnum, with Bessie Love and Frank Campeau.[9] The film was based on the 1922 short story by George Owen Baxter,[3][10][11] and was produced and distributed through Fox Film.[2][8]

Three Who Paid
Three Who Paid lobby card.jpg
Lobby card
Directed by
Screenplay byJoseph F. Poland[2]
Based onThe Range-Land Avenger (short story)
by George Owen Baxter[a]
CinematographyDon Short[2]
Distributed byFox Film[8]
Release date
  • January 7, 1923 (1923-01-07) (U.S.)[8]
Running time
5 reels[8]
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

The film is presumed lost.[12]


Riley Sinclair (Farnum) seeks to avenge the death of his brother, whose three companions – Quade, Sanderson, and Lowrie – left him to die in the desert. Two of the three men die, and the third is spared so that he can confess to the crime. Sinclair helps John Caspar (Love), a schoolteacher, who is actually a rich young woman who is trying to get away from her opportunist husband. When her identity is revealed, she and Sinclair fall in love.[11][13][14][15]



In November 1922, scenes were filmed in San Juan Canyon in Orange County, California.[16][17] Production was delayed when Bessie Love, who was responsible for her own wardrobe, forgot to bring spirit gum to hold her wig, the prop man gave her LePage's glue, which adhered the wig to her head.[18]

Release and receptionEdit

The film was "a first rate production",[2] but had issues. For the parts of the film when her character is masquerading as a man, Bessie Love was deemed unconvincing.[2] Overall, the film received mixed reviews.[19][20][21]

On its release, some theaters showed the film with the Baby Peggy short Nobody's Darling.[9]


  1. ^ The short story was originally published as "Three Who Paid" in the April 8, 1922 issue of Western Story Magazine,[3][4][5] and later published as "The Range-Land Avenger".[6][7]
  1. ^ Love 1977, p. 151
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Reid, Laurence (January 6, 1923). "Pre-release Reviews of Features". Motion Picture News. p. 74.
  3. ^ a b Baxter, George Owen (April 8 – May 27, 1922). "Three Who Paid". Western Story Magazine.
  4. ^ Brand, Max (1985). The Rangeland Avenger. Dodd, Mead. ISBN 978-0-396-08562-1.
  5. ^ Nolan, William F. (1985). Max Brand, Western Giant: The Life and Times of Frederick Schiller Faust. ISBN 0-87972-292-4.
  6. ^ Baxter, George Owen (1924). The Range-Land Avenger: A Western Story. New York: Burt. OCLC 19262324.
  7. ^ Tuska, Jon; Piekarski, Vicki, eds. (1996). The Max Brand Companion. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-313-29750-2.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Sherwood, Robert E. (1923). The Best Moving Pictures of 1922–1923. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. p. 191.
  9. ^ a b "Lyric Theatre". Ludington Daily News. 23 (311). Ludington, Michigan. November 23, 1923. p. 1.
  10. ^ Goble, Alan, ed. (1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. London: Bowker-Saur. p. 29. ISBN 978-3-11-095194-3.
  11. ^ a b Munden, Kenneth W., ed. (1971). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films 1921–1930. New York: R.R. Bowker Company. pp. 806–7. OCLC 664500075.
  12. ^ "Three Who Paid / Colin Campbell [motion picture]". Library of Congress.
  13. ^ Langman, Larry (1992). A Guide to Silent Westerns. p. 453. ISBN 978-0-313-27858-7.
  14. ^ "Three Who Paid". Motion Picture News Booking Guide. Vol. 4. April 1923. p. 99.
  15. ^ Sewell, Charles S., ed. (January 6, 1923). "Newest Reviews and Comments". Moving Picture World. p. 61.
  16. ^ Sleeper, Jim (1980). "Galloping Tintypes". Great Movies Shot in Orange County. Trabuco Canyon, California 92678: California Classics. p. 39. OCLC 7358612.CS1 maint: location (link)
  17. ^ McLellan, Dennis (November 4, 1999). "O.C.: Best Supporting Player: The county's lush scenery was the setting in 500 motion pictures for Hollywood's silent movie pioneers". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Love 1977, p. 80
  19. ^ Positive reviews:
    • "What the Big Houses Say". Motion Picture News. February 10, 1923. p. 684. Of its kind it is very good. Plain western thrills and gun play, but it took strong. Good business.
    • Blade (July 7, 1923). "Voice of the Box Office". Exhibitors Trade Review. p. 251. Interesting to those who like dramas of action.
    • Times (July 7, 1923). "Voice of the Box Office". Exhibitors Trade Review. p. 251. Will be enjoyed by lovers of romantic story of the West.
    • Widenor, Fred S. (September 8, 1923). Powell, A. Van Buren (ed.). "Straight from the Shoulder Reports". Moving Picture World. p. 174. Good western. Pleased everyone. Not suitable for Sunday. Had good attendance. Drew mixed class in town of 1,800.
    • Leal, F. G. (November 3, 1923). "Straight from the Shoulder Reports". Moving Picture World. p. 124. A high class western that pleased everybody. This is the type of picture that is well suited to Dustin's acting. He never fails to please in an out-door picture. Moral tone fair. Good Saturday night picture. Had good attendance. Draw better class in town of 800.
  20. ^ Mixed & lukewarm reviews:
    • "Picturegoers' Guide". Pictures and Picturegoer. February 1924. p. 60. Beginning as a tragedy, this powerful story rather goes to pieces in the second half. Well played, however, by Dustin Farnum, Bessie Love, Fred Kohler, Robert Agnew, Frank Campeau, William Daly. A very good Western drama.
    • Reis; Miller (June 23, 1923). "Three Who Paid". Exhibitors Herald. p. 64. Fair picture. Not enough action for a good Saturday picture. Film in fine shape.
  21. ^ Negative reviews:
    • Reeves, E. C. (April 7, 1923). "Three Who Paid". Exhibitors Herald. p. 63. A very weak offering and naturally failed to satisfy my patrons. Business bad. The girl who attempts to pass as a man is the most complete failure of this kind I have ever seen.
    • Malphrus, C. (June 2, 1923). "Three Who Paid". Exhibitors Herald. p. 60. Not quite as good as the previous Dustin Farnum pictures.
    • Stallman, J. L. (July 21, 1923). "Three Who Paid". Moving Picture World. p. 230. An ordinary picture is the best I can say for this one. Dustin has ability and with me a following, so why he isn't given a good story is a mystery. … Had fair attendance. Draw general suburban class in suburban town.
Works cited
  • Love, Bessie (1977). From Hollywood with Love: An Autobiography of Bessie Love. London: Elm Tree Books. OCLC 734075937.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External linksEdit