Frank ( Lon Chaney ) has ridden through a terrible storm to leave $10,000 in gold with the station agent. The man refuses to accept responsibility for so much gold since some suspicious men have been hanging about, and the next train is hours away. Mary ( Claire McDowell ), Frank's wife, was in love with Jim, but through a deceit, Frank convinced her to marry him and forsake Jim ( Sam De Grasse ). She has been miserable ever since, and Frank mocks her when he enters and finds her crying again. Frank goes out again, and shortly thereafter, a stranger who is caught in the storm asks to be let in. The stranger is Jim, and both he and Mary are delighted to see each other again. Jim finds an empty revolver in the cabin and loads it for Mary. Jim learns how Frank tricked them both, decides to settle with Frank face-to-face, and goes off looking for him. Meanwhile, Frank has been attached by two tramps and, after overpowering them, switches clothes with one of them. Frank returns to the cabin and when he enters, the wind blows out the lamp. Mary does not recognize Frank in the tramp's clothing and tells him she will shoot if he comes closer. Frank laughs, thinking the gun to be empty, and attacks her. Jim returns to the cabin and, seeing the struggle, attacks Frank. Mary grabs the gun and shoots the stranger, who is then revealed to be Frank. "It is the judgement of the Highest Court," says Jim.
This 1917 silent western/drama was produced by the Universal Film Manufacturing Company starring Lon Chaney in his last short film, his career moved to feature films. Sadly, The Empty Gun remains a lost silent film.
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