D.W. Griffith was born in Kentucky, the son of Jacob Griffith, a Confederate colonel. Colonel Griffith was born in what is now Jefferson County, West Virginia and served in the Kentucky Senate (Henderson, 20.) His Appalachian culture and familiarity with the concerns of the people of Kentucky had a profound effect on his son. D. W. Griffith’s father died while he was still young and Griffith idolized him from a young age. While working as a travelling correspondent for Baptist Weekly, Griffith spent time walking through Kentucky and Tennessee. During this time, he met men who had served with his father and the experience strengthened his connection to Appalachia (Geduld, 14-15.)
“The Mountaineer’s Honor” examines the struggle of a mountain family who sees their daughter wronged by a man from the city. The family’s honor is saved several times, by several means. The brother of the girl who had been wronged kills the man from the city for dishonoring his sister. When the police come to hang him for murder, his mother shoots him instead to save him the shame of a public execution. After this, the wronged girl’s previous boyfriend chooses to marry her in spite of what happened with the man from the city, saving her from the dishonor of being known only as the girl tricked and discarded by an outsider.
by: Mikal Eledge
Geduld, Harry M, editor. Focus on D.W. Griffith. Prentice-Hall, 1971.
Henderson, Robert M. D.W. Griffith: His Life and Work. Oxford UP. 1972.