Cast & Crew
Dr. Wendell Phillips Jones is tried and acquitted for giving Lola Stevens the prescription medicine with which she committed suicide. Her husband Tony, however, vows revenge from his wheelchair and asks his sister, Margaret Stevens, to carry it out for him. After his trial, Jones is fired from the hospital, his patients refuse to go to his private practice, and he is rejected by a free clinic despite emergency conditions. Jones pawns his instruments for $22.50, and buys a train ticket for the farthest destination that that money will take him--Orchard Fork, Wisconsin. There, he meets a famous retired lawyer, Alfred A. Abbott, and fixes the broken arm of his servant, Olaf. Abbott convinces Jones to stay and open a practice so the only two professional men in town may remain friends. However, Margaret traces Jones to Orchard Fork and arrives to expose him, asking Abbott for assistance. He convinces her to remain in town to see Jones at work, and she accompanies Jones when he goes to deliver a baby. Margaret's feelings toward Jones change, but after arriving late back in town, she is expelled by her shrewish landlady, Mrs. Hattie Simmerson. Mrs. Simmerson finds Margaret's clippings about Jones in her room and instantly prints the allegations in the local paper, quickly changing the town's perception of him. However, Jones is tired of running and reveals the truth to Margaret: Lola killed herself because she could not go on living with her husband, and Jones had refused to become her lover and betray his best friend. Later young Freddie Simmerson falls gravely ill, and unknown to his mother, his father begs for Jones's assistance. Freddie is near death, having received no treatment because his mother believes only in quack remedies. Jones performs a tracheotomy, but Mrs. Simmerson rushes in hysterically and pulls the tube from Freddie's throat, killing him. Her subsequent shame compels her to seek revenge, rousing the town by exclaiming that "Doc Jones" killed Freddie. A lynch mob forms, taking Jones and Margaret out to a tree to be hanged in the snow. Abbott fearlessly stops the proceedings and convinces the mob to conduct a trial on the spot, swaying the townspeople with his eloquence. Finally Mrs. Simmerson is brought forward and is informed that her ignorance and impetuous prejudice killed Freddie. The mob disbands, and Margaret realizes where the blind revenge of her brother could lead. Olaf, Abbott, Jones and Margaret are happily united, and Jones and Margaret marry.
The film's working title was Happiness Preferred. According to contemporary sources, first unit shooting took place in the winter snows of California and Nevada, including locations around Truckee and Tahoe. In a modern source, director Robert Florey states that the scene of "Jones's" arrival in Orchard Fork was filmed in Calabasas, CA.