At a social gathering Harry Faulkner (Robert Harron) is reading a book on primitive man. Harry falls asleep and dreams that he is back in time during the days of the caveman. Harry is known in his tribe as Weakhands. Weakhands is in love with another clan member named Lilywhite (Mae Marsh). Weakhands convinces Lilywhite to be his mate. Lilywhite is stolen by another caveman named Brute Force. While pondering his loss Weakhands attaches a stick to a rock and creates the stone club. With it he overcomes Brute Force and takes back Lilywhite. Through his intelligence Weakhands becomes the leader of the Stone Club Clan.
The Stone Club Men inhabit the upper caves of the mountain. In the lower caves lives another clan whose leader is Monkeywalk. Due to a devastating war, the lower cave clan only has one female left. Monkeywalk decides to invade the upper clan and steal their women. They are defeated because the upper cave tribe has stone clubs. Monkeywalk and his men create their own stone clubs and beat back the upper cave clan stealing their women. Monkeywalk and his men force the Stone Club tribe to take shelter in their cave. Facing annihilation it is up to Weakhands to come up with a new invention to overcome Monkeywalk and his tribe.
“The Primitive Man” AKA “Brute Force” AKA “In Prehistoric Days” was released in 1914 and was directed by D.W. Griffith. It is a silent short film about a half hour long. It is a quasi sequel to Griffith’s film “Man’s Genesis” 1912 and incorporates much of “Man’s Genesis” in it.
It is believed to be the first dinosaur movie and the earliest live-action film to feature dinosaurs and humans together. Don’t look for there to be much in the way of dinosaurs though. There is one dinosaur, which is supposedly a Ceratosaurus, and it is on screen for about twenty seconds. It’s also shown eating vegetation even though the Ceratosaurus was a meat eater. There are a couple other creatures in the film, a large snake and some kind of lizard with wings. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to be but it might have been an alligator all dressed up. Another dinosaur movie was released the same year, “Gertie, the Dinosaur” but the dinosaur footage in that film was animated.
The film is in really bad shape and there isn’t really all that much to it. The dinosaur and other creatures don’t show up until the second reel. There is also a time code and archive label hard coded on the film stock that gets in the way of some of the viewing. I’m sure there’s a better copy of it out there somewhere.
Included in the cast playing various tribesmen are Lionel Barrymore, Harry Carey and Elmo Lincoln.