Jim Houston (Hart) is the "Shootin' Iron Parson" who comes to lawless Barren Gulch to try to reform the town's people with the support of the local sheriff. Jim's wife Mary (Dalton) is made of weaker stuff and soon falls for the oily charm of "Doc" Hardy (Robert McKimm) the chief rabble rouser - "He went through doctorin' school, but doctorin' was poor and gamblin' better"!! As Jim builds his church, Mary finds she is ostracized by the town folk for being the wife of a "sky pilot" and that's when "Doc" steps in. He quickly convinces her to leave Jim and promising to marry her when her divorce comes through.
"I ain't a parson no more - God and me has split"!!, that's Jim's reaction when he realises Mary has gone. Hart subdued his acting as the years went on and he was more at home in the saddle. As "Shootin' Iron Parson" he throws underplaying to the winds and attacks the part with gusto, forever throwing his arms in the air, forgetting that while the stage called for grand gestures film work needed a different style. New York Dramatic Mirror called it "a strong stirring exposition of primitive human emotions" but Hart actually held up the action with his sweeping style.
Little Alice falls sick, partly fever, partly not knowing where her mother has gone. Mary finds her way to the cabin during a storm and while Alice is calmer a doctor is needed and, of course, the only one available is "Doc" Hardy who finds caring for the sick little girl very therapeutic.
Robert McKimm seemed to be part of William S. Hart's stock company of actors, always playing the villain. Unfortunately he died in 1927 of a cerebral hemorrhage while only 40.