The Promise (1917) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Bill Carmody, a likable young chap, is wasting his time in Broadway restaurants. His father loses a large amount of money because the youth forgets to deliver bonds entrusted to him. Bill quarrels with Ethel Manton, the girl he loves, and he makes up his mind to leave home and "make good" in his own way. Mistaking the bonds for a package of Ethel's letters, he puts them into his pocket and takes them with him. On the way west Bill meets D.S. Appleton, a lumber baron. The train is wrecked, and Bill, having saved Appleton's life, is taken from the wreckage unconscious and hurried to the Appleton home. Bill tells Appleton that he is looking for work, but refuses to reveal his identity. Appleton sends Bill to Buck Moncrossen's camp, believing the boy is made of the right stuff, and that the stern discipline of Moncrossen's place will bring it out. A clash of wills between Bill and Moncrossen takes place, and the big lumberman proves to have a cowardly streak in him. His hatred for Bill grows. Meantime Ethel has accepted the invitation of St. Ledger, a fortune hunter, to join his party on a cruise to Palm Beach. Ethel is accompanied by her aunt and brother, Charlie, who, loyal to Bill, loses no opportunity to balk St. Ledger's attentions to Ethel. Finally tiring of the fortune hunter, Ethel persuades her aunt to accept the invitation of Appleton to come north and inspect his lumber holdings. Moncrossen has taken a fancy to Jeanne, an Indian girl. Bill has protected her from Moncrossen, and the lumberman plans to be revenged. During the spring drive, when the logs are taken down to the mills, Bill almost loses his life when a log jam is dynamited. Hurled into the river, and believed by Moncrossen to have been drowned, he is rescued by Jeanne and taken to her tepee. While he is recovering Jeanne falls in love with him, and makes him promise that if Moncrossen ever tries to molest her again, he will come to her assistance. Then he goes farther up the river, where Appleton has another camp. Ethel, on her visit to the Appleton holdings, meets Bill. Their misunderstandings grow rather than lessen, and just when Ethel begins to realize the change that has come about in Bill, Jeanne comes into camp, telling him that Moncrossen is threatening her. Without explaining to Ethel, he goes away with Jeanne. Ethel, brokenhearted, is about to leave camp and return home, when Fallon, a friend of Bill's, tells her of the promise Bill has made to Jeanne. Moncrossen has imprisoned Jeanne's old grandmother. Bill goes to force Moncrossen to release her, and a fight, almost to the death, follows, in which the big bully's spirit is utterly broken, Bill being the victor. Jeanne wants to go to Bill after the contest is over, but her wise old grandmother will not permit it, saying that it is a divine law that the red shall not mix with the white. A complete reconciliation between Ethel and Bill follows. The father having learned the truth about the disappearance of the bonds, comes to express his joy in the regeneration of his son.


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