Cast & Crew
William Reardon, Sr., the owner of the Reardon Iron and Steel Company, learns that he is dying and wishes that his wastrel son Bill was more like Tons Walker, his hardest working employee and loyal friend. After Reardon's death, Tons must assume his job, much to his discomfort, for he is not an educated man and prefers coal shoveling to paper shuffling. His unhappiness increases when he meets Bill, who assures Tons that he will throw him out as soon as possible. When Reardon's lawyer Smalley reads the will, however, they discover that Bill will inherit the estate only if he works anonymously in the factory for one year while Tons continues in Reardon's former position and lives in his home. Bill bitterly rejects the proposal, but soon swallows his pride and takes a job in the factory as a filing clerk. A month passes before Tons discovers the soft nature of Bill's job, but Tons then sends him down to the furnace room to shovel coal. Bill plays to Tons's secretary and fiancée, Susan Bailey, for sympathy, but must continue the enforced labor nonetheless. Bill resolves to steal Susan from Tons in revenge, and as Tons puts in long hours mastering the office end of the business, Bill wines and dines the neglected Susan. One night, at employees' night at the skating rink, Tons discovers that Susan is in love with Bill and takes it upon himself to announce her and Bill's engagement. Bill determines to do right by Susan and realizes that he even enjoys his job now. Bill's pal, Eddy "Porky" Plunkett, does not believe that Bill is content though, and calls Bill's girl friend, socialite Elaine Witworth, who arrives with her fortune-hunting mother in tow. When they find out that Tons is living in the Reardon mansion, they mistakenly assume that Bill has lost his fortune, and Mrs. Witworth soon has Elaine concentrating on hooking Tons, which she does easily. Soon after, however, Tons questions Susan about her upcoming marriage to Bill, and mistakes her tears of jealousy over Elaine to be caused by Bill's mistreatment of her. Tons goes to the furnace room to have it out with Bill, and the two men get into a fistfight. Bill knocks Tons down onto the conveyor belt, then risks his own life to save him seconds before he is to be engulfed by molten steel. In the hospital, while the men convalesce, Tons is reunited with Susan, and Bill with Elaine. Tons, who is now convinced that Bill has become a "real steel man," gives him the deed to the Reardon estate. In turn, Bill admits his respect for Tons and makes him his partner by giving him a half-interest in the company.
Sam H. Stept
The working title of this film was Steel. Bill Cracks Down marked the screen debut of orchestra leader and radio star Ranny Weeks.