Soul Master (1917)

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It may not be well-known, but in the early years of cinema, it wasn't uncommon for women to direct films. Lois Weber is the only 1910s female director that comes to most people's minds, but there were others (Ida May Park, for example, and Marguerite Bertsch) whose films have mostly been lost to history. Bertsch directed this domestic drama for Vitagraph. By the time he has grown into young adulthood, Robert Travers (Earle Williams) has already grown jaded towards women -- his mother ran out on his father, who eventually died a broken man. But when he meets Arline (Billie Billings), he believes her to be the personification of good. Unfortunately he's wrong; she's shallow and mercenary, and when a former lover (Forest Crampton) shows up wealthy, she runs off with him and takes their little girl with her. Fifteen years pass and Travers becomes the owner of a department store chain. He finds himself strangely attracted to Ruth (Katherine Lewis), one of the salesgirls. But Ruth is in love with one of her fellow workers, Peter Grant (Donald Cameron). Travers winds up saving Ruth from the advances of one of his fellow clubmen (Denton Vane), and then he finds out that she is his long-lost daughter. Because Peter has proven to be worthy of Ruth, Travers blesses the union.