Ruth Ann Baldwin was a journalist who joined Universal as a screenwriter in 1913. She wrote for the serial THE BLACK BOX in 1915, did a stint as an editor, and was tapped by the studio to direct. '49-'17 is a charming and suspenseful western parody about a millionaire who hires a Wild West theatrical troupe to relive his past as a miner forty-niner. Every sacred western cow is turned on its ear: the patriarchal representative of the law, the Young Man, the Gambler, the saloon brawl and the Woman. Jean Hersholt gives a powerful performance early in his notable career as the taciturn desperado. Despite the success of '49-'17, Baldwin’s career as director was over by 1920.