Cast & Crew
Jed Malone, a city boy who wants to be a lumberjack, seeks employment at Boss Whittaker's lumberyard, but is turned away because he appears to be too delicate for hard labor. However, when Steve Blake, a worker at the plant, learns that Jed has picked up an injured dog along the way, he appreciates the city boy's heart and convinces Whittaker to take him on. Jed proves his worth almost immediately when he saves Steve's life in a sawmill accident, but they soon have a falling out when Steve discovers that Jed has won over his secret love, June Martin, a beautiful dishwasher at the town's boardinghouse. When Jed and June announce their engagement, Steve tries to hide his broken heart, but, at a party thrown in honor of the couple, he nearly kills Jed in a friendly wrestling match. June breaks up the fight, and soon the whole town begins talking about Steve's jealousy. After spending more time with Jed, Steve begins to soften, and eventually he gives Jed his blessing to marry June. On the afternoon of their wedding, Jed is hurled to his death when a mechanism on the saw fails. Steve, witnessing the tragedy, flies into an angry rage, smashes the machine to bits and blames Whittaker for failing to replace the defective saw. To cover his negligence, Whittaker hints that Steve killed Jed out of jealousy, and Steve is jailed for murder. At the trial, June testifies on Steve's behalf, and although the jury acquits him for lack of evidence, the townspeople still believe that he is guilty. Just as Steve takes to the road to start a new life somewhere else, June receives a distress call that a truckload of men are trapped in a mammoth forest fire and need Steve's help. Steve demonstrates his true nature by risking his own life to brave the blaze and rescue the men, and his act of heroism lifts the cloud of recrimination that has hung over him. All ends happily as he and June are married.
A working title for this film was Power to Burn. The title card for the film reads: "Jack London's Romance of the Redwoods." London's short story first appeared in The Overland Montly (Feb 1899). Although a modern source claims that two other films-the 1918 Artcraft film A Romance of the Redwoods (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.3767) and the 1948 Columbia film Thunderhoof-were based on the same Jack London short story, the 1918 picture was a screen original and the plot details of neither film bear resemblance to the 1939 picture.