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Plot Summary

  • The brutality of Mrs. Cardigan's husband excites comment, and one day a miner named Norton intercedes in behalf of the wife. Norton agrees to take Mrs. Cardigan away from her vicious husband; but they are overtaken. In trying to escape with her half-dressed baby, a bullet grazes her temple and she falls unconscious upon the ground. Norton is killed in the skirmish. Indians, hearing the shots, attack the whites and take the baby, leaving Mrs. Cardigan for dead. The wife is found by the soldiers and is taken to the fort, where she recovers, and eventually falls in love and marries the colonel. Twenty years later her baby, now grown, is appointed chief of the Indians, the old chief having died. The redmen, thinking the pin that he wears bearing his name, John, a charm, have named him Running Elk. One day Running Elk calls at the fort to sell furs, and has an altercation with a drunken soldier. In the fight that follows the soldier is killed and Running Elk is sentenced to death. The mother meets the Indian and learns that he is her son, but does not reveal her identity. When she hears that the Indian is to be shot, she affects his escape. She is discovered by the colonel and, in a dramatic scene, tells him of her past life, and he forgives her. Smarting under the indignities he has received. Running Elk incites his tribe to war with the soldiers. Seeing that the soldiers are losing, the mother decides to tell Running Elk who she is; but in climbing the stockade, she is struck by a bullet. With her dying breath she impresses upon her son that she is his mother. A truce is declared and she is buried amidst impressive Indian rites.

    - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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