Cast & Crew
Owen Davis Jr.
As gambler Don Oakhurst is being returned to Red Gulch for hanging, he and his pregnant wife Susan break away and dive into a river to escape. Susan arrives alone in Roaring Camp, where she later dies in childbirth. The residents of Roaring Camp decide to rear the baby and make him a partner in their claims. Davy, who hopes to study law, is given responsibility for the boy, who has been named Thomas Luck because of the good fortune he seems to bring. When a rich gold strike is discovered soon after, Roaring Camp becomes a boom town attracting many people, including Oakhurst, who is unaware that the baby is his son. New Orleans singer Miss Elsie arrives to work in the local saloon but because of the shortage of rooms, rents a bed from Davy. Because the prospectors have not given Luck his promised share of the profits, Davy needs Elsie's money. Elsie urges Davy to take Luck to San Francisco, but Davy refuses, certain that the prospectors will keep their promises. When Oakhurst visits Davy, he discovers his wife's cloak and learns the truth about the baby. The prospectors send their money to San Francisco for safekeeping and have still not given Luck his share, so Oakhurst robs the stage and leaves the money with Davy for Luck. Oakhurst is identified as the robber and is captured and put on trial. He is killed when he tries to escape. As Elsie again entreats Davy to leave, she discovers he is already packing. Davy heads for San Francisco with Luck, Elsie and the money.
Owen Davis Jr.
Bret Harte's short story was collected in the book The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches (Boston, 1869). The first film version of Harte's story entitled The Luck of Roaring Camp was made in 1910 by Thomas Edison and in 1917, Edison produced Luck of Roaring Camp, a two-reel version of the story. RKO's 1935 film, The Outcasts of Poker Flat (see below) was based in part on Harte's story.