By Betsy J. Green

Almost as soon as moviemaking began in Santa Barbara, the dangerous stunts began. The Essanay movie company arrived in Santa Barbara in January 1910, and one of the first stories about their filming here involved an actress who seemed to double as a stunt woman. The movie was “The Mexican’s Faith.”

A reporter for the local paper described the filming. “The heroine . . . is a pretty dark-eyed little thing who is cheerfully dragged over the rocks, rescued, dragged some more, chased uphill and downhill . . . The day before yesterday, the little heroine had a much more strenuous day of it. She had to run and run, and fall down exhausted on the rocks, and run some more.” – Santa Barbara Independent, January 5, 1910

Betsy’s Way Back When book — Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions — is now available in local bookstores and at This is the seventh book in her series on the history of Santa Barbara. Learn more at​.



Written by bjgreen

Betsy J. Green is a Santa Barbara historian and author. Her books are available in local bookstores, and at (Shop local if you can.) Learn more at

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