Cops (1922) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Through a series of mistaken identities Buster winds up with a load of furniture in the middle of parade of policemen. An anarchist's bomb lands in his carriage. After lighting his cigarette with it, he tosses it into the ranks of police. When it explodes the police chase him all over town.

  • A series of mishaps manages to make a young man get chased by a big city's entire police force.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • As the film opens, Buster is speaking with a young woman. She rejects him because he is not wealthy, and states he must become a business man to win her.

    As he walks down the street, Buster sees a large man who has dropped his wallet. He returns the wallet. Buster and the man stumble over each other, and in the process the wallet falls out. Buster picks it up - it contains a large amount of cash. The man realizes the money is missing, and goes back to get his wallet. Buster has lifted the money, and gives the man the wallet. He returns to try and get his money back; gets out of his car, and Buster gets in and drives away.

    Buster then gets out of the car, where a family is waiting for a moving company to take their possessions. A con artist convinces Buster that the possessions are his and he is being evicted, but will sell the things to Buster. Buster buys them, then buys a horse to take them away.

    The family, believing Buster to be the moving man, loads their possessions on his cart, and tells him to take them to their new address. Buster, believing he has bought the items, ignores the instructions.

    He travels down the street in the horse drawn cart, having an encounter with a nasty dog, which leads him to attach a boxing glove on a stick to his cart. The boxing glove knocks down a traffic cop at an intersection -- twice, coming and going.

    Buster then has several problems with the horse. Meanwhile, the family is wondering what happened to the furniture and other belongings.

    The film cuts to a police parade in a major city. Buster accidentally finds himself in the middle of the parade, which is being viewed by the mayor and his daughter. A bomb-wielding anarchist throws said bomb into Buster's cart. He uses it to light a cigarette and then tosses it away. When the smoke clears, dazed and confused cops are wandering about and chaos reigns.

    The rest of the film is an extended chase, in which hundreds of police officers chase after Buster and he escapes them in various ways. Stunts include Keaton balancing on a ladder as cops pull it from both sides.

    As the film closes, Buster manages to corral all of the police into the central police station. He escapes by disguising himself as a policeman. The girl from the start of the film sees him in the police uniform, and once again rejects him. A heartbroken Buster then surrenders to the cops.

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