Souls in Pawn (1917)

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Universal action star Ben Wilson was teamed with Pathe serial hero William Courtleigh Jr. in Souls in Pawn. Since Wilson was the bigger "name" at the time, he got to play the hero, while Courtleigh was consigned to the role of a young weakling. Becoming fascinated with worldly actress Vivien Prescott, Courtleigh manages to make a public spectacle of himself. Wilson, the stalwart fiance of Courtleigh's sister, tries to save the boy from further humiliation by offering Prescott a huge sum of money to let Courtleigh off the hook. But the boy can't leave the actress alone, and during a nocturnal visit to the woman's apartment he shoots and kills her current lover. Just at that moment, Wilson arrives on the scene and gallantly assumes responsibility for the killing, for the sake of Courtleigh's sister. Wilson is sent to prison, while Courtleigh disappears from view, trying to forget his past by becoming an opium addict. On the verge of death, Courtleigh confesses all, thereby freeing Wilson to marry the boy's sister (who doesn't seem too broken up by Courtleigh's revelation).