The Highbinders (1915)

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San Francisco's Chinatown is the scene for this two-reel melodrama of crime and miscegenation. The cruel saloonkeeper Pat Gallagher (Walter Long) wants to marry off his daughter Maggie (Billie West) to a gangster, but she runs away and hides in a neighborhood shop. There she is persuaded to marry its Chinese owner Hop Woo (Eugene Pallette), only to be mistreated by him. Two decades later he decides to sell their daughter Ah Woo (Signe Auen) into slavery, but she is rescued by her brother and his friend Jack Donovan (Tom Wilson) who marries Ah Woo. The despairing Maggie takes her own life, and Ah Woo and her brother go to live with Donovan on his ranch. Note actress Signe Auen, who later changed her name to Seena Owen and worked throughout the silent era, capping her career by portraying the monstrous Queen Regina in Erich von Stroheim's final (and unfinished) silent Queen Kelly. 15/2rl