Man from Manhattan (1916)

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Unlike most melodramas, this one offered some strong characterizations. After his father (Charles Wheelock) fires him from his newspaper, Willoughby Whipple (William Stowell) travels from New York to a small country town to try to make good on his own. He starts a paper with the help of a local poet, Virginia Winters (Rhea Mitchell), and "Daddy" Eggleston, a hard-drinking tramp printer (Perry Banks). The town's power broker, Squire Benjamin Barton (Jack Prescott), owns the building in which the Bugle is located and he offers Whipple free rent if he will support his candidacy for mayor. Instead, Whipple exposes his attempted bribe and wins his enmity. Barton evicts the Bugle, and when Whipple can't get space in any of the other office buildings, he runs the paper out of a tent. To get rid of Whipple, Barton plans to set his own office building on fire and saddle the young newspaperman with the guilt. But the night Barton is pouring coal oil all over the building, he encounters Eggleston, who has been on a drunk. He knocks Eggleston out and sets the place on fire. When the old printer awakens, he crawls into a vault to escape the flames. Whipple is arrested for causing the fire, but a tramp locates Eggleston's body in the vault. Before he died of suffocation, he wrote a message on the vault's wall in chalk which implicates Barton in the crime. With Barton's downfall, Whipple is elected mayor and marries Virginia.