Yes, A COUNTRY HERO is the only completely lost Keaton film. A shame, but THE COOK was a lost film 20 years ago, so you never know if it will show up. We're very lucky to have all the Keaton we have, thank Raymond Rohauer and others, or surely more would be lost.
Now for the main course. Yes, this week's short shares a title with a Stooge film. There is also the similarly titled Buster Keaton film GO WEST, with shares a title with a Marx Brothers film. This all confuses me to this day. Anyway, I overall like this film better than Paul, but I'll be the first to admit there are flaws. Yes, the racist scene is obvious. The scene is not just racist, but nihilistic, because no matter the race of the man, this scene does not belong in a comedy, or if so, there better be some great dramatic pay off. The problem is the poor guy is gained up on by every one simply because of his race with those bullets to his feet, and the close ups of the guy crying....let's just say the comic momentum is temporarily halted. Bullets are meant for comic cartoonish effect, not realism without a plot to justify it.
Briefly, I also want to point out a missed opportunity with character development in the Salvation Army worker in the "den of vice." Surely Chaplin would have used Edna Purviance for this role and developed her character and the story around it much greater. By this time, Chaplin was doing mature comic works like THE VAGABOND, truly Arbuckle wasn't up to that dramatic story telling level in comedy at this point. Would he have ever been? Who knows?
Still, some great stuff in spite of the flaws. The opening train scene is fantastic, just wonderful filmmaking and humor all around. The chase on top of the train, the breaking up of the cargo, you gotta imagine this stuff had an influence on Keaton later on. The gag involving Arbuckle lighting the match and catching the train is to me the comic highlight. Also, for trivia buffs, of the three guys Arbuckle is stealing the food from, the guy in the middle with the newspaper is Joe Keaton, Buster's Dad and Vaudeville partner. We'll be seeing plenty more of him.
As for the ending gun fight, what it lacks in wit of later Keaton finales, it makes up for in pure setting. Goes back to what I said in CONEY ISLAND, I just love the realistic setting in these silent films, it lends such great atmosphere. OK, on top of that, I do appreciate how St. John gets his commupence towards the end.
Overall, a good, but flawed film.