Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Star-director William S. Hart plays "Level" Leigh, who plies his gambling trade in a rough-and-ready mining camp. Fiercely devoted to his sickly sister Alice (Mildred Harris), Leigh moves to another camp higher in the mountains so that Alice can benefit from the fresh air in the loftier altitudes. It is here that he meets dance-hall girl Coralee (Alma Rubens), who turns the rest of the community against Leigh when he refuses her attentions. Unable to make a living in any other fashion, Leigh is forced to become an outlaw to pay for his sister's medical bills. But he refuses to stoop to murder, and when he is accused of killing one of his hold-up victims, Leigh breaks out of jail to track down the genuine culprit. Virtually every one of the story elements indigenous to William S. Hart's starring vehicles is present in The Cold Deck.