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Plot Summary

  • Robert Burton was an only son and his indulgent mother had spoiled him. Bob was not all bad, but he was woefully weak and could not stick long at any one task. Also he paid more attention to rolling cigarettes than he did to his work. One day he was discharged by the foreman of the crockery store where he worked and appeared at home disgusted and sullen. His mother tried to comfort him, but the boy was anxious to have his way and announced his intention of going west, where he thought there would be better opportunities for him. Poor Mrs. Burton, who was a widow, was horror-struck at the idea of letting her only child away from her, but habit was too strong and so she gave in to Bobby in this as in other things. She supplied him with money from their meager store, and he arrived in the west and was fortunate enough to secure work on a ranch. His idea of his own important did not appeal to the cowboys, however, and they hazed him in a pretty rough manner. Bob left that job and a number of others, and since he was unpopular, he took to drink. One day, when all his money was gone and he was desperate, as he had received no reply to the letter he had written his mother for aid, he held up the mail carrier and escaped with the mailbag. The sheriff was soon on his trail, but Bob eluded him and sought refuge in a dilapidated cabin where he had a chance to open the letters he had stolen. From one there fell a ten dollar bill, and the boy's amazed eyes caught his own name and his mother's familiar handwriting. He suddenly realized how no-account he was, and how little he deserved the mother he had. Seized with a sudden determination, he gave himself up and served hi term in prison, after which he returned to his aged mother, who had never failed to ask each day for "the letter that never came."

    - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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