The Hell-Hound of Alaska (1918)

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Perhaps this isn't exactly the "Greatest Romance Ever Screened" (an advertising phrase from the trade paper Moving Picture World), but it certainly is an example of the stern and unforgiving nature that William S. Hart's characters could display when it came to those who wronged the ones he loved. Here, the unfortunate object of his wrath is Jack Sturgiss (George Fisher), who starts off by marrying shop girl Ruth Wells (Nona Thomas). When his father discovers the marriage, he has it annulled because Ruth is far below the Sturgiss family in station. Next, Jack travels to Alaska where Ruby McGraw (Enid Markey) falls prey to his questionable charms. After the wedding, Jack neglects Ruby and spends his time with other women. One night during a storm, Ruby goes out in search of him and contracts pneumonia. Jack heads for a doctor, but he takes his time, knowing that if she dies, he'll be a free man once again. However, he hasn't counted on Yukon Ed (Hart), a prospector known as the "Hell-Hound of Alaska." He has always loved Ruby, and when he finds her deathly ill, he makes a mad dash for a doctor. His mission is in vain and she dies. Ed, heartbroken and vengeful, tracks Jack down and serves up the rough justice the varmint deserves.