Cast & Crew
Lassiter, a Texas Ranger, vows to avenge himself against the man who caused his married sister to abandon her husband and join the Mormon sect. At Jane Withersteen's ranch, where his sister was last seen, Lassiter befriends a rider named Venters, falls in love with the ranch's beautiful owner, and takes a little orphan named Fay Larkin under his wing. While Venters searches for a band of rustlers that has been raiding Jane's ranch, Lassiter learns that his sister is dead and then raids a Mormon meeting, killing Dyer, the man who abducted her. Venters captures the leader of the cattle thieves, who proves to be a young woman, and soon the two fall in love. Pursued by the angry Mormons, Lassiter, Jane and Fay ride to a secluded valley where they meet Venters and the repentant cattle thief, whom Lassiter recognizes as his dead sister's daughter. Venters and the girl escape the Mormons, but Lassiter, in rolling a huge boulder down on his pursuers, blocks the only exit to the valley, trapping himself, Jane and Fay inside.
The picture was filmed, in part, in Arizona. Zane Grey accompanied the crew. The film's sequel, The Rainbow Trail, also starred William Farnum and Mary Mersch and was released in October 1918. Grey's novel was originally published in the United States in serial form. The film was copyrighted under the title The Riders of the Purple Sage. Fox remade the film three times: in 1925, with Tom Mix starring and Lynn Reynolds directing (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4578); in 1931, with George O'Brien starring and Hamilton MacFadden directing; and in 1941, with George Montgomery starring and James Tinling directing.