Cecil B. DeMille's The Arab was based on the stage play by Edgar Selwyn, who plays the title role. The headstrong son of powerful sheik Horace B. Carpenter, Selwyn is punished for his foolish pride. The old shiek sells his son's favorite horse, which passes through many hands before ending up in the possession of pretty missionary Gertrude Robinson. Imperiously, Selwyn steals the horse from Robinson, forcing the poor girl to walk through the scorching desert sands. Eventually, he changes his ways, saving her and her father from a massacre. Though now in love with Robinson, Selwyn must reluctantly bid her farewell when he is forced to assume his late father's duties as shiek. Humorist Irvin S. Cobb appears briefly as a bumptuous American tourist.
by Hal Erickson synopsis