Learning from his dying mother that he is the heir to an English title, Bryan ( Irving Cummings ) travels to San Francisco to find Huntley ( Ferdinand Tidmarsh ), the former butler who possesses the papers that prove Bryan's nobility. Huntley, whose brutality has driven his lover Myra ( Pauline Frederick ) back to her former job as a dance hall girl, gives some of Bryan's papers to the gambler Aimes Rutten ( Riley Hatch ) as a payment for debts. At the dance hall where Myra works, Bryan defends her from Rutten's aggressive sexual advances and subsequently becomes her lover, although word of her reputation as a promiscuous woman causes him to leave her behind when he takes a job in the mines. Myra follows him, however, and, learning of his mission, decides to recover the papers for him, even though she will lose him if she succeeds. Huntley is killed by one of his enemies, and Myra, who finds his body when she takes the documents, is accused of the murder. She escapes the law with Bryan's help and acquires the remaining documents from Rutten by promising that she will become his mistress after Bryan leaves. Delighted to receive the documents, Bryan nevertheless decides at the last minute not to leave for England, returning to Myra just as she is about to go to Rutten.
This 1916 silent drama was based on a novel of the same name by E. Phillips Oppenheim, produced by the Famous Players Film Company, starring Pauline Frederick. Tragically, The World's Great Snare still remains a lost silent film.
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