Wild Beasts at Large (1913) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The train carrying all the cages filled with wild animals of the circus is wrecked, and bears, lions, leopards, elephants, kangaroos and monkeys escape down the track toward the village. Master Paul Seeley is sitting in the parlor bemoaning his fate. He has just been told that he cannot go to the circus because he startled his mother while enthusiastically raving over a book about the kings of the forest. From the window he sees the train wreck and runs out to spread the news among the townspeople. Mr. and Mrs. Seeley are suddenly prostrated with fear when they poke their heads out, to see two big tigers waiting there for them. They jump out the window to the street, making straight for the cellar, where, followed by their neighbors from all directions, they hasten for shelter. Upstairs in the parlor, the two big tigers jump about on tables and chairs, creating havoc. The biggest, sitting on a small round table loses his balance and table and tiger come to the door. This attracts the attention of the other tiger. They sit on their hind legs and belt each other with their tremendous paws, and chase about the room, overturning everything. Patricio Mulduron, from southern Italy, in his popular fruit store, is pursued with all his customers, men, women and children, into the adjoining room by a swarm of monkeys. The monkeys sit upon the fruit stand and sample all the fruit, and gorge themselves so full they can hardly wiggle. The keepers now get on the trail of the escaped animals. They first catch the big tiger in Mr. Seeley's home. The refugees in the Seeley cellar then come out and run for other shelter. The town grocery store is in great trouble. Five bears enter the place and start in to change its appearance. They climb a counter piled high with boxes of honey and fill their bellies with the sweet, sticky honey. They mount a stack of flour sacks and tear them open, scattering the floor in white clouds and covering their shaggy coats. Others climb the high shelves stacked with groceries and the shelves crash to the floor on top of them, scattering cans of beans, tomatoes, corn, etc., in all directions. A proud and portly butcher is standing at the door of his butcher shop when Master Paul Seeley comes on the run and tells him that the wild animals are around the corner. The butcher leaps into the store, followed by Master Paul, just succeeding in getting into the refrigerator as three large lions enter the place. The cashier girl in the paying cage has to sit in the cage in the midst of the roaring lions, nearly frightened to death as she watches them tearing meat from the hooks and devouring it, while the butcher is peering through the glass in the refrigerator door. When the lions have consumed all but a bunch of tripe the keepers come and chase them oat, allowing the butcher and the boy, nearly frozen, to come from their retreat. The girl has fainted, and when she comes to, she jumps at the slightest sound. In one house, the inhabitants are besieged by monkeys. Women holding children by the hand hasten up into the garret. One woman has to climb a ladder to the roof, followed by a big. frolicsome Simean. And she jumps down a whole story to a tin roof, falling through a skylight and landing upon the heads of a crowd of men drinking in a saloon beneath. Then comes Mr. Seeley carrying Mrs. Seeley, and when he hears of the monkeys he goes into the saloon and tells of his terrifying experiences. Just outside the barroom, fat, evil-colored piercing-eyed boa-constrictors are writhing on the floor, and as Mr. Seeley and a friend, both now feeling happy, start from the barroom, the snakes enter. Poor Seeley, his friend and all the men leap onto the bar, staring with saucer eyes. The snake-keeper comes, and bare-handed thrusts the snakes into sacks. Two leopards climb through a window in a barber shop and clear the place. One leopard climbs up the shaving mug rack, pulling the whole thing down, frightening the two animals so that they leap through the window. At this time the barber's wife is washing dishes in the room above. Spotted leopard enters and brushes against her; the woman gives a terrified yell, and grabbing up the pan filled with hot water, douses it on the leopard, who goes to the china closet and pulls it down, dishes and all. The barber's wife faints and does not revive until her husband with the leopard's keeper rescues her. Master Paul Seeley decides to play a joke on his parents. When Mr. and Mrs. Seeley stagger in. thinking that their troubles are at an end, they both collapse utterly when they hear a tigerish roar outside the door. Running to the bedroom, they are met there by Paul in a tiger skin. Mr. Seeley solaces himself for his recent woes by applying his slipper where Paul will feel it most.


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