Gods of Fate (1916)

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Miller (William H. Turner) finds his friend Estey (Francis Joyner) dead, with some plans for a new invention -- a vacuum air brake for trains -- lying nearby. So he steals the papers for his own profit. Rightfully, the proceeds should go to Estey's daughter Jane Rita Toofy), and to alleviate his guilt, Miller adopts the little girl. He is a widower, and when he marries again, his new wife (Inez Buck) brings her boy, Gordon (Herbert Crothell, Jr.), to the family, which already consists of Jane and Miller's son, Kent (Thomas Koil). As the three children grow up Gordon (now played by Richard Buhler) and Jane (Rosetta Brice) fall in love, while Kent (Arthur Housman) becomes a drunk and spendthrift -- he takes after his father, who has squandered the money made from Estey's invention. Miller dies from burns he receives in a fire and wills his entire estate to Kent, but Jane finds the old plans and realizes she is entitled to royalties from the air brake. Kent, who is working as a switchman, is determined to keep the profits for himself and purposely causes a wreck involving the train carrying Jane and Gordon. While the pair are underneath the wreckage, Kent tries to steal the plans from Jane's traveling bag, but he is arrested. Jane and Gordon survive the wreckage together, and Jane gets what is due her. Incidentally, Arthur Housman had a long career playing screen drunks, both in comedies and dramas.