The version that appears on home video is the nine0chapter French version from 1916, with the title cards translated into English. It has survived mostly complete, with the exception of chapter four, which is missing the first of two reels. The missing reel contained footage from the original US Chapter 17, in which Pauline's dog is kidnapped and she is lured to the den of a group of counterfeiters.
There never was a scene in this serial with Pauline tied to railroad tracks, either in the footage that survives or in that which does not. Very detailed plot summaries of all 20 original episodes show nothing remotely similar to that occurred in any of the episodes. The scene resembling that in The Perils of Pauline (1947) is actually a recreation of a scene in a Keystone comedy called Teddy at the Throttle (1917). Similar scenes also occurred in an earlier Keystone comedy called Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life (1913), the serial A Lass of the Lumberlands (1916) and in an episode of the Hazards of Helen series, The Broken Circuit (1915).
The version that survives on 28mm film is an edited-down and rearranged nine-chapter version. This was released starting July 27, 1916, in Paris, France, with the title changed to Les Exploits d'Elaine (The Exploits of Elaine). The names of the nine weekly episodes were: 1. Par le vertige et par le feu, 2. La Déesse du Far-west, 3. Le Trésor du pirate, 4. le Virage mortel, 5. Le Fil aérien, 6. L'aile brisée, 7. La Plongée tragique, 8. Le Reptile sous les fleurs, 9. Le Cercueil flottant.
Contrary to published interviews later in her life, author Meridel Le Sueur is not involved in this film in any capacity; although she claimed to have been Pauline's double in a sword fight, the only sword fight in the film is between two male antagonists; besides, when the film was made, on the East Coast, Le Sueur was only 14 years old, still in school, and living in Kansas.
Contrary to popular myth, the villain in this serial did not wear a top hat and cape, nor did he have a mustache. The villain was played by Paul Panzer, who appears clean-shaven and minus a top hat and cape.
There never was a scene in this serial with Pauline tied to a conveyor belt approaching a buzz saw, either in the footage which survives or in that which does not. Very detailed plot summaries of all 20 original episodes show nothing remotely similar to that occurred in any of the episodes. A number of other silent films did contain such a scene. It was referred to as a "Blue Jeans" scene because it originated in a 1890 stage play of that name. See the book "Melodrama and Modernity" by Ben Singer, 2001, Columbia University Press, pages 183-185. Blue Jeans style sawmill scenes were in the film version of the play Blue Jeans (1917), as well as the serials Perils of Thunder Mountain (1919) and The Timber Queen (1922).