Hell Diggers (1921)

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This powerful drama, based on a Saturday Evening Post story by Byron Morgan (who also adapted it for the screen), proved to be only a fair vehicle for Wallace Reid, not because the film wasn't good, but rather because several of the featured players have roles as strong as his. Teddy Darman (Reid) is the construction superintendent for the Continental Gold Dredging Company. But the farmers of the valley where the firm is doing its dredging are upset because it is ruining their land. Led by John Wade (Alexander Brown), the farmers form a fierce opposition. This doesn't bother Darman until he realizes that Dora (Lois Wilson), his sweetheart -- who is also Wade's daughter -- is siding with the farmers. This turns him around and the farmers mortgage their farms so that Darman can build a dredging machine that resoils the land. When the machine is dynamited by the Continental Company, Darman and the farmers hunt down the men responsible and give them a thrashing. Instead of being furious, the company's president is impressed by Darman's efforts, and he agrees to put the new design to use. He also makes Darman general manager of the concern, while Dora and Darman agree to marry.

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Keywords

Divided-loyalties, ecology, engineering, environmentalism, farming, forbidden-love, gold, love, romance