Mrs. Ardath ( Gretchen Lederer ) has called a meeting of the family to discuss the proposed marriage of her daughter, Margaret ( Dorothy Phillips ), to Robert Ogden ( Frank Whitson ), a young Englishman. Mr. and Mrs. Ardath are joined by Margaret's uncle, Dr. George Ardath ( Lon Chaney ), an eminent physician, and Col. Belden ( Albert MacQuarrie ), a Civil War veteran. Robert and Margaret hear the discussion, and when Col. Belden, says that Robert would be a good soldier if his country should need him, Margaret rebels at the idea of fighting. Margaret has always harboured a strange dread of war and fighting, and constantly worries about her husband going off to war. Dr. Ardath tells of a new drug, a cardiac depressant, that can produce the symptoms of a weak heart, but that too large a dose can kill. One day, Margaret finds herself exhausted from all the bridal shopping, and takes to bed after Dr. Ardath gives her a tonic. Margaret and Robert are married, and some time later their son, Donald, is born. The boy grows up being a sportsman and a fighter, and reaches manhood at the outbreak of the war in Europe. Robert is overseas when the war begins, and he writes home saying he has signed up to defend his mother country. Donald takes over the family business, and soon after becomes engaged to Patricia Landon ( Helen Leslie ). Rumors of war with Mexico are in the air, and Donald is excited at the prospect of being called up to fight for his country. Although Patricia supports Donald's desire to serve his country, Margaret grows increasingly restless and Dr. Ardath is called in to examine her. Margaret steals a bottle of the cardiac depressants from his bag, and slips some of the medicine into Donald's drink. A doctor is called in while Dr. Ardath is away, and pronounces that Donald has heart trouble. Mrs. Landon tells Patricia that she cannot think of marrying an invalid, and she breaks her engagement, marrying a millionaire shortly thereafter. Donald, disappointed in his entire life, becomes a drunkard. Dr. Ardath returns and examines Donald, finding his heart in perfect health. He recognizes the symptoms as those of the cardiac depressant, and Donald realizes how his mother's scheme has cost him Patricia's love. A messenger arrives with the news that Ronald has died. Margaret decides to end her suffering and take all of the remaining cardiac depressant. She starts downstairs when she trips and tumbles down the stairs. With a bump, Margaret wakes from what has been a long dream. She rushes to Robert's arms just as a newsboy shouts that the war has ended.
A copy of this 1916 silent drama produced by the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, survives incomplete.
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