Fathers of Men (1916)
Howland is a trapper and is supremely happy with his wife, Jeanne, and son, Robert, in their cabin in the north. Blake, a trader, also married is traveling to the nearest trading post. Out with Robert for a sled ride, Jeanne runs her sled into a snow slide, and, but for the timely assistance of Blake, both would have been killed. Jeanne escapes unhurt, but Robert suffers injuries which necessitate an operation. While Howland takes the boy to the nearest doctor, Blake is left to look after Jeanne. In the lonely nights which follow, Blake wins her love and when Howland returns with his son, now recovered, he finds the cabin empty. Howland vows to be avenged on Blake. After some time, the latter tires of Jeanne and leaves her to return to his lawful wife. At home, he finds his three young sons in tears over their mother's death. Sorrowful now for his treatment of Jeanne, he returns to the cabin where he left her but finds that she has already gone. Twenty years later, Howland, now a lieutenant in the Northwest Mounted Police, tells his son, also a mounted man, of the sorrow which Blake caused him, and Robert joins his father in renewing a vow of vengeance if the scoundrel still lives. When Howland sees Blake by the side of a murdered man, an opportunity for revenge presents itself, and though he knows that Blake did not commit the crime, he succeeds in having him convicted. In escaping from his guards, Blake is fatally shot. In Blake's cabin, his three sons hear of their father's death and against the admonitions of David, the other two set out to repay Howland. After killing the latter and stunning Robert, they take to the trail to escape. Robert, with two other men, is detailed to track them. When the brothers separate to baffle their pursuers, Robert follows David, but is so spent when he finally catches up with him that he is helpless to capture him, and falls exhausted in the snow. David ministers to him, but when he recovers, through the other's efforts, Robert insists on a duel to square their account. Though reluctant to fight with one with whom he has no quarrel, David is unable to withdraw with honor. As they are preparing for the fight, a weak cry of distress is heard, and they both answer. Running in the direction from which it came, they find a gray haired woman, lost in the wilderness with her two daughters and dying from lack of nourishment. They unite for the protection of the trio and take them to the home of a nearby trapper, where, during the night, the dishonest trapper and his associates bind the two men and prepare to attack the women. Following their brother's trail, the other two Blake boys are just in time to chase the villainous band and rescue their victims. Then the brothers recognize Howland and bitterly denounce him for sending their father to his death. But Robert halts them by telling the story of how the elder Blake brought dishonor on his mother. After hearing the names of her rescuers, the old woman steps into the breach and tells Robert that she is Jeanne, his mother. After a touching reunion, she tells him of her aimless wanderings since she left his father and explains that the girls are not her daughters, but have been treated as such since the death of their mother. Both Robert and David did not remember their unfought duel, but the friendship which had sprung up between them, while they fought side by side for a woman's protection, prevents them from drawing guns on each other.- Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
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