An affecting melodrama thanks to a great performance by Lilian Gish and masterful direction by Griffith, especially his handling of the film's final act involving a chase down an icy river that is still thrilling today. My only gripe is the ocassional focus on subplot involving a professor vying for the affections of a girl, which detracts from the main story, being both unfunny and undeveloped, making the conclusion (a triple wedding) less believable than it already was.
Lillian Gish had one of the most expressive faces in the history of the film and her performance here is a master class in silent screen acting. Griffith's ultimate melodrama is a moving, exciting and awe inspiring classic of silent cinema. The ice flow sequence even by today's standards fills one with awe at its execution. The film however rests on Gish and it is her who elevates it to its revered status.
I feel the climax is a bit drawn out, but other than that everything is done very well here. Perhaps a bit less experimental with camera technique than usual, but this is more than made up for by what is certainly one of Gish's best performances I've seen thus far in a Griffith film (moving chronologically here.) Also alot less of the pointless silent-dialogue-without-title-card-or-meaningful-gesture uselessness.