Like many Keaton shorts, the plot is only a vehicle for Keaton to explore his imagination and to give him an opportunity to devise clever gags. When one watches a short such as this, it is important to think of it as a cartoon. It is not meant to be Citizen Kane, but only to be visually entertaining and to keep the audience guessing as to what Buster will do next. His physical comedy is wonderful here and I can't help but think that the creators of the Warner Brothers cartoons were great Buster Keaton fans. Keaton's reaction when he realizes that a burly convict whom he had just antagonized escaped from his cell and is standing right behind him is priceless, right down to Buster's cartoonish exaggerated heartbeat. This is followed by a move that would make Jackie Chan jealous. Convict 13 succeeds brilliantly at its goal and much of the humor is timeless. If you have the proper expectations, you will really enjoy this film.