Following her mother's death, Betty Wynne ( Marguerite Clark ) is forced to work as a maid in a boardinghouse, where she meets and falls in love with one of the residents, Bayard Varick ( Richard Barthelmess ). Another of the lodgers, old Henry Mapleson ( George Backus ), so admires Betty's sunny disposition that, in order to promote her well-being, he forges a document suggesting that she is the long-lost granddaughter of millionaire John K. Beeston ( Frederick Warde ). The cold-hearted and irritable old businessman, whom nobody loves, softens under Betty's influence and soon comes to love her dearly. Bayard, however, believing that Beeston ruined his father in a business deal years earlier, refuses to visit Betty in the rich man's house. Imagining that Bayard no longer loves her, Betty agrees to Beeston's wish that she marry her cousin, but when Bayard learns of Mapleson's forgery, he hurries to Beeston's estate to claim his sweetheart. The old man is reluctant to give her up but finally relents when he discovers that Bayard is his long-lost grandson.
This 1918 silent drama was based on the novel Rich Man, Poor Man by Maximillian Foster, produced by Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, starring the popular actress Marguerite Clark and Richard Barthelmess. Tragically for fans of silent cinema, Rich Man, Poor Man still remains a lost film.
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