Dust (1916)

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Frank Kenyon (Franklin Ritchie) is a writer who investigates appalling factory conditions, and by coincidence, the father (Harry von Meter) of his fiancée, Marion Moore (Winifred Greenwood), owns one of the worst factories in the country. Frank's attempts to open Marion's eyes to this are futile, and their conflict reaches a head at a charity function where Frank denounces the offhanded, superficial attempts of the wealthy to do good. Marion breaks up with him, and he goes on to run for office. He is elected and puts a bill through the legislature that would improve factory conditions. A fire breaks out at Moore's factory while he is there on inspection; he and one of the workers are trapped. Frank comes down and tries to save them both, but Moore dies in his attempt to push past the worker. Marion finally gains some sympathy for the workers and begins sincere efforts on their behalf, and this ultimately reunites her with Frank.