The Shooting of Dan McGrew (1915)

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"A bunch of the boys were whooping it up at the Malamute saloon." Thus began Robert W. Service's gutsy narrative poem The Shooting of Dan McGrew. Likewise, thus began the film version of Service's poem, produced in 1915 by Popular Plays and Players and released by Metro. No-good Alaskan prospector Dan McGrew (William A. Morse) tries to have his way with purty saloon gal Lou (Kathryn Adams), which sorely displeases Lou's piano-player husband Jim (Edmund Breese). The film then departs radically from the original poem: Lou runs off with Dan, leaving Jim to raise his daughter Nell all by himself. Years later, the grown-up Nell (Betty Riggs) marries an upright young man (Wallace Stopps). Re-enter Dan McGrew, who commits a murder and pins the blame on Nell's husband. If ever a man was destined to be shot, it is Dan McGrew, but it takes Jim nearly 15 years to finally pull the trigger. One suspects that Tex Avery's cartoon version of the Service poem was more entertaining than the "live" version.

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Keywords

bad-guy, courage, escape, good-guy