John Carter ( Wilfred Lucas ), a hard-working insurance company bookkeeper, comes home Easter eve to his suburban cottage with a potted lily for his loving wife ( Mary Alden ) and two daughters. The Carters live happily until cashier Charles Ryder ( Spottiswoode Aitken ) is murdered by the night watchman, a "coke sniffer" in need of money, and Carter is accused because he worked with Ryder that evening. During intense third-degree police questioning, Carter acts guilty, but cub reporter Ned Fowler ( Elmer Clifton ), who loves Carter's daughter Helen ( Bessie Love ), intervenes. After the watchman, arrested for fighting and in need of drugs, confesses, Carter is released, but insurance company president Ira Wolcott ( Sam De Grasse ) will not reinstate him because of his notoriety. During the next year, Carter fails to find work because of his age. As Easter approaches and his life insurance premium becomes due, Carter decides to kill himself in a gas-filled hotel room, so that his starving family can collect the insurance money. When Carter's little daughter Nellie ( Carmen De Rue ) strays into Wolcott's yard, Wolcott learns about Carter's plight and rescues him. Carter returns to work, and Helen becomes engaged to Ned.
This 1916 silent drama was based on the short story "Acquitted" by Mary Roberts Rinehart, produced by The Fine Arts Film Company, starring Wilfred Lucas, Bessie Love,Sam De Grasse and Elmer Clifton. The survival status of Acquitted is listed as unknown, sadly suggesting it may now be a lost silent film.
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