Ex-gunslinger turned mining prospector William S. Hart (as "Bat" Peters) receives word that Chicago businessman Jack Davidson (as John Folsom) is interested in his mine. Mr. Hart travels to the windy city to clinch the deal; however, Mr. Davidson turns out to be crooked. Moreover, Davidson's innocent stenographer Clara Williams (as May Dawson) takes an instant romantic interest in Hart, which puts her life in danger
Hart portrays an refreshing variation of his already perfected persona; herein, he is a reformed western outlaw, fighting corruption in the big city. For good measure, he must save a damsel in distress. Ms. Williams, working with Hart, is outstanding. Williams was, unquestionably, Hart's best leading lady; in this film, you can see why. Watch Williams subtly "check him out", as she brings Hart into Davidson's office; then, observe her sighing over Hart at her typewriter. And, she makes a modern woman's play for the man she desires.
Hart and company put effort into making "The Ruse" an exciting picture, and it shows. Although Williams' early scenes are unparalleled, the others in the cast perform well. Davidson, early in his career, makes a good impression. And, Gertrude Claire (as Mother Grady) plays a great hag. However, the plot construction is weak, especially when contrasted with the film's strengths.
******* The Ruse (7/14/15) William S. Hart ~ William S. Hart, Clara Williams, Jack Davidson
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