Synopsis by Janiss Garza
This powerful drama, based on the novel The Master of Man, by Sir Hall Caine, was the first time Swedish director Victor Sjorstrom made a film in America. When her stepfather (De Witt Jennings) locks her out of the house, Bessie Collister (Mae Busch) finds refuge with Victor Stowell (Conrad Nagel), who she had met earlier that evening at a dance. They spend the night together and Stowell decides he must marry her instead of his fiancee, Fennella Stanley (Patsy Ruth Miller). When he goes to tell his father, the deemster (a judicial officer on the Isle of Man, where the action takes place), Stowell finds him dead. Victor's friend, Alick Gell (Creighton Hale), falls in love with Bessie, but runs home to her mother (Evelyn Selbie) after finding out she is pregnant. Stowell becomes deemster in his father's place, and his first case is Bessie, who is accused of killing her baby. Although Gell defends Bessie, she is sentenced to die. Stowell helps Bessie escape from jail, and she runs away with Gell. Enraged at Bessie's escape, am mob gathers and Stowell admits to being the man who helped her -- and that he is the father of her dead child. He gets a two-year prison sentence, but Fennella has forgiven him his transgression, and meets him at the prison where they are married.
poverty, pregnancy, unwed-parenthood