Cast & Crew
Charles R. Seeling
Prior to the arrival of a large herd of cattle, rancher Richard Bronson, owner of the Star Bar Ranch, has his new foreman, Blackie Blake, go to sheep farmer Williams to purchase half of Williams valuable water rights. Williams refuses the Bronson offer of five thousand dollars, telling Blake that he is also expanding his herd. Before Blake's departure, Williams asks him to mail a letter in town. Just outside of Williams' ranch, Blake opens the letter and uses it as a model to forge Williams' signature on a bank receipt for Bronson's five thousand dollar check. Blake then returns to Williams' ranch, on the pretext of borrowing some tobacco, and slips the check into Williams' pocket. A few moments later, as Williams begins to tell his wife about the deal, Blake, who is hiding behind a tree, shoots him. Out on the range, Bronson's top hand "Smiling" Jack Stanley, and his faithful dog Wolfheart, hear the shot. Wolfheart follows the sound and upon spotting Blake escaping, gives chase. Jack follows his dog, but they lose Blake, whom they do not see clearly enough to recognize, at the river. That evening, Bronson's niece Betty arrives from the city, and Blake immediately begins flirting with her. The next morning, Blake presents the receipt with Williams' forged signature to Bronson, who then goes to the Williams ranch to thank the couple. Upon discovering that Williams has been murdered, Bronson offers to help Mrs. Williams. At Star Bar, when Blake sees that Betty is interested in Jack, he vents his jealousy by beating Wolfheart. The next day, while Bronson takes the buckboard out to the Williams ranch to drive Mrs. Williams to town, Blake arranges with his rustler friends to ruin Jack. On the ride into town, Mrs. Williams confides in Bronson that she saw her husband's murderer being chased by a dog and a cowboy. Suspicious, Bronson turns the wagon over to Mrs. Williams, then rides back to Star Bar. Meanwhile, Blake places a note in Jack's chaps, tying him into a rustling scheme, then orders Jack to check fences along the far side of the ranch. When Bronson returns to the ranch house, Blake suggests that Jack is unscrupulous and leads Bronson and several hands out to Jack, timing the visit to coincide with his rustler friends stealing a small bunch of cattle near Jack. While the rustlers flee, Jack reports to Bronson, but Blake interrupts and has Jack searched. When the note is discovered and presented to Bronson, he reluctantly orders Jack's arrest, even though he remains suspicious of Blake. While Bronson returns to Star Bar, Blake rides toward town and stirs the ranch hands up against Jack, implying that he murdered Williams. Along the road, after Mrs. Williams hears the men agree to hang Jack, she races to Star Bar to tell Bronson. Reacting to Bronson and Mrs. Williams' agitation, Wolfheart breaks into the bunkhouse and brings Bronson Blake's vest, which contains Williams' original letter. After Mrs. Williams identifies it, she and Bronson rush to save Jack while Blake, who has secretly returned to Star Bar, ties Wolfheart to a tree. Blake then kidnaps Betty, lying that he is taking her to her injured uncle. After Bronson prevents Jack's hanging, Jack rides off in search of Blake. Wolfheart breaks out of his ropes to join his master and they soon corner Blake and a terrified Betty, who faints. Jack knocks Blake down in a fistfight, but when Blake attempts to escape, Wolfheart forces him into the river, where Blake drowns. Jack and Wolfheart revive Betty and return her safely to the Star Bar ranch.
Charles R. Seeling
The viewed print's opening title cards May have been prepared for a re-issue noted at the end of the print. No date for the re-issue has been determined. Actor and character names are listed in order, from the film's intertitles. According to modern sources, John Williams plays the role of sheepman Williams.