The Hessian Renegades (1909) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • During the American Revolution, a young soldier carrying a crucial message to General Washington is spotted and pursued by a group of enemy soldiers. He takes refuge with a civilian family, but is soon detected. The family and their neighbors must then make plans to see that the important message gets through after all.

  • In 1776, a messenger for the Colonial Army, Owen Moore, is cornered and killed in his father's New York farmhouse by Hessian mercenaries employed by the British. His sister, Mary Pickford), tricks a sentry to enable the father, James Kirkwood, to go for help.

  • The incident here depicted shows a young American dispatch bearer, who, surprised by a band of Hessian foragers, seeks shelter in his father's house. The old man has just time to hide the boy in the fireplace when the Hessians enter. After a fruitless search they express their intention of putting up at the house. As a subterfuge, the daughter takes them upstairs to show them their quarters, while the father hides the boy in a clothes hamper. The Captain, on his return downstairs, sees the basket, and suspicious, asks what it contains; not satisfied with the old man's answer, sends a bullet crashing through into the boy's body, killing him. The poor old man is frantic with grief and vows to avenge his boy's brutal murder, so stealing outside with his daughter, they surprise the sentry and carry him off. The daughter, dressing in the sentry's uniform, takes the post, while the father scurries off in search of help. Knocking at the doors of his neighbors, each is opened by a sympathetic friend, but the young men all away fighting their country's cause, only the old folks and women remain. However, they are ready to aid him, and as all their arms and ammunition have been confiscated they must take up anything at hand. What a motley army they are, old men and young and old women, armed with clubs, axes, scythes, etc., eagerly anxious for the fray. The little band of patriots reach the house just as the identity of the daughter is discovered by the relieving sentry, who is silenced, and the invaders stealthily enter the house by windows and door, taking the Hessians entirely unawares. A brief struggle lays most of them low, while the old man singles out the Captain, who had killed the boy, keeping his vow of vengeance.


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