Border Wireless (1918)

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Border Wireless was a rarity for star-director William S. Hart. It was not only one of his few "contemporary" films, but also one of the very few Hart films in which the "strong, silent" star was seen to laugh out loud. World War I even spread to the West, according to this picture. Cowboy star Hart plays Steve Ransom, who turns bandit after a Southern railroad steals his parents' property. His robberies make him notorious and eventually he lands in Yellow Dog, Arizona and takes on a false name. He stays because he has fallen in love with telegraph operator Elsa Miller (Wanda Hawley), who he saved from a lustful Mexican. Herman Brandt (Charles Arline) is a German spy who runs a powerful wireless hidden in a mine near the town. When America enters the war, Steve is quick to enlist, but he has already made an enemy of Brandt, who has found out his true identity. He informs the authorities at Fort Scott, where Steve has gone to join up, and he just barely escapes arrest. Elsa's brother, Carl (James Mason) discovers a plot to sink the ship bringing General Pershing to France, and as he gets captured by the Germans, it is up to Steve to get help and destroy the Germans' wireless. The troops arrive and Steve is pardoned due to his patriotic service.