Oil on Troubled Waters (1913)
PART ONE: Old Miner Benton called upon his widowed sister and her charming daughter, Bernice. When he saw the daughter in the arms of Ralph Conway, geologist, he ordered him from the place and severely lectured his aged sister. A lawyer called and made over to him a legacy to be equally divided between him and his poor sister, but the miner carefully hid the true value of the property. Bernice's mother finally died and on the day of her death Bernice became the bride of Ralph. Together they started off to the land given them by the penurious uncle, who chuckled as he thought of the barren patch of beach he had given her. Imagine their disgust and despair when a slovenly hotel-keeper pointed out the barren tract. Bernice fled, crying, while Ralph sunk to the ground thoroughly discouraged. After a time he noticed the smell of oil, took a sip of water at his feet, straightened up with a new look in his face-for the scraggly, rocky coast had oil! PART TWO: Several months passed-Summerland became a boom town, and Ralph and Bernice were the richest of the rich. Meanwhile old Benton had trouble with the railroad. To fight them he mortgaged every piece of property he had and soon the news came that he was bankrupt. Aged, disheartened, without a friend in the world, Benton started on foot for Summerland. In the interim, Ralph had worked industriously and one day, with Bernice, walked over his oil field. He pointed out to her that this was the only region in the world where oil was mined from the ocean's bed; he showed her the long string of oil wells, in the water, their frames rising ghost-like in the sinking sun; how a 25 horsepower engine operated the forest of wells by means of an eccentric cam; how each barrel of oil contained 40% asphalt; how the railroad charged exorbitant rates for shipment, and how the oil well owners built a long pier into the ocean to transport the crude oil by boat. When a child came their happiness was complete. Then one day an aged, care-worn figure slid, face forward into the grass of his property. He and Bernice ran to the prostrate figure and turned up the face of Benton. And then good was returned for evil and Benton found a home with the couple he had tried to wrong.- Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
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