Better Man (1914)

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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Broadway veteran William Courtleigh topped the cast of this Famous Players production. Courtleigh and Arthur Hoopes are co-starred as two ministers, Stebbing and Barmore. While Rev. Barmore hypocritically courts the favors of the rich and famous, Rev. Barmore remains true to his calling by ministering to the poor and obscure. Offered a great deal of money to establish his own church, Stebbing refuses, since the money has been donated by General Wharton (Robert Broderick), a capitalistic factory manager who is presently underpaying several of the reverend's parishioners. Stebbing tries to get the manager to use the money to raise his employees' salaries, but to no avail. Things go from bad to worse when the workers go on strike and when Stebbing clashes violently with Rev. Barmore over the affections of General Wharton's daughter Margaret (Alice Claire Elliot). Only a climactic factory fire and death-defying rescue convince Rev. Stebbing that he is, indeed, the "better man," and that he has not irrevocably lost his calling.