The Silent Trail

Release Date:   1/18/1916
Distributor:   Mutual
Reels:   2
Brand:   Flying A
Genre:   Drama
Director:   Charles Bartlett
Story Summary:

Joe Mandott and Frank Martin are woodsmen. They come to work in a strip of wood, where John Hayward, an aged trapper, and his daughter Helen lead their lonely lives. The trapper is caught by the steel jaws of one of his own traps. Joe, hearing his cries for help, comes to his rescue. This leads to a friendship and the trapper often invites Joe to his cabin. Helen and Joe meet and eventually the girl promises her heart to the sturdy woodsman. Circumstances at length throw Frank, Joe's partner, into Helen's life. She finds she has more love for Frank than she has for Joe, but her sense of fealty and honor holds her to her betrothal.

Helen and Joe are married, and from the beginning of their life together Joe shows Helen nothing but insult and continual abuse. Frank knows how things are going, but is powerless to interfere. Driven to desperation, Helen leaves Joe's cabin and returns to her father. The old trapper is beside himself with anger when he hears the girl's story, and he vows that vengeance shall fall upon the head of his daughter's husband. Joe, enraged by Helen's desertion, goes in search of her. He and Joe meet and a fight ensues and Joe is given a thorough beating. He starts for his home alone in his canoe.

The aged trapper from a point on the bluff sees Joe paddling across the lake. He lifts his gun and is about to shoot when the sheriff of Mendino County arrives. He is searching for an escaped murderer, one John Bates, who had killed his wife some years before in his Eastern home. The old trapper recognizes the portrait that the sheriff shows him as that of Joe Mandott. He points out Joe to the sheriff and the officer shouts Joe to surrender. Realizing that he has been discovered, Joe attempts to escape. The sheriff lifts his gun and fires. Frank and Helen, standing together at a point not far distant overlooking the lake, see Joe's canoe drifting by carrying his lifeless body along "the silent trail".

- Moving Picture World, January 15, 1915

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