The Suwanee River (1913) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The poetic and sentimental theme of the old Southland song is the moving crux investing an interesting story of love and comedy daring the reconstruction period, south of Mason and Dixon's Line. The hero, Bob Lucas, a fiery Southerner and the heroine, Nell Burke, a young Northern girl, live on adjoining plantations. They follow nature's line of least resistance, and fall in love. Colonel Lucas, of the old school of Southerners, has a deep-set hatred for the Northerners. The aged negro, Uncle Abe, good-naturedly assists the clandestine meetings of the youngsters and does his best to keep them from the knowledge of his Massa', the old Colonel. When that redoubtable old fire eater discovers the situation and what he considers a misalliance, he disowns his son, and orders him to leave the plantation at once and forever. Bob Lucas, dutifully accepts snap judgment, follows orders, goes to the North and, in an Eastern city, eventually amasses a fortune by selling cotton short when the market is falling. Strangely enough, this drop in cotton prices ruins old Colonel Lucas. His creditors grow more and more importunate, so that finally the Sheriff is compelled to advertise the old plantation and house at a sacrifice sale. All through this lowering cloud of trouble old Uncle Abe notices that the imperious spirit is softening; the iron will is breaking and there is a deep settled longing to see the boy again. The old negro starts North with his banjo, and as a modest serenader attracts the attention of the now affluent young Lucas at a banquet. He tells the young man the story of his father's predicament and this, as an echo of the song, stirs him to instant and vigorous action. He arrives back at the old plantation just in the nick of time, as the deadly hammer is about to strike the auction-block, and saves the stubborn colonel in spite of himself. The father and son become reconciled and the former buries his ancient prejudices and finds the Northern girl as fair as any flower of the aromatic South. So all ends well to the haunting melody of "Way Down Upon the Suwanee Blver."


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