West of the Water Tower (1924)

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In the more straight-laced era of the 1920s the lack of a marriage license could destroy a young couple's world - that's the only way that modern-day film historians can make sense of the plot to this character study. Adrian Plummer (Ernest Torrence) is a narrow-minded preacher; Charles Chew, the richest man in the town (George Fawcett) is a confirmed atheist. So when Plummer's son, Guy (Broadway star Glenn Hughes) and Chew's daughter, Bee (May McAvoy), fall in love, neither family looks well on the union. Cod Dugan (Riley Hatch), who runs the local poolroom, has gotten fed up with Plummer's lectures, so he decides to get back at the preacher. He takes the young couple to a squire in another town who marries them. Then, Dugan never bothers to pick up the marriage certificate. When Bee is about to have a baby and the couple can't prove they are married, scandal rocks the town. Bee goes away to have the child, but Guy stays behind and braves the taunts, even when his father is forced to resign his pulpit. Guy is instrumental in getting a highway built through town, and when the squire tracks him down with the marriage certificate, all is forgiven.