The Sheriff of Plumas

Release Date:   6/16/1916
Distributor:   Mutual
Reels:   2
Brand:   Mustang
Genre:   Western Drama
Director:   Warren Ellsworth
Confirmed Cast:   Helene Rosson, William Stowell, Charles Newton
Story Summary:

Once known as a desperate safe cracker, Jess Martin has spent twenty years of reformation in the West and has become the sheriff of Plumas. He has a son, Roy, and it is the ambition of Martin and his wife that their son obtain a college education. Later they place on the proposition before Roy, and he enthuses over the idea, especially as May agrees to wait for him until the four years of college are over.

But at the college Roy falls in with a fast set and, due to poker games, is soon deeply in debt. While at home his father and mother undergo every sacrifice for him. Roy's roommate is a student of criminology, and from him Roy learns something of the methods of detection by thumb prints. His poker debts also increase, and he is forced to write home for money, stating that he finds it necessary to take up a special law course, which is very expensive. By this time Martin's resources are deeply drained, and he is at a loss to figure where he can get the money. Mrs. Martin pleads with him, and he agrees to get the necessary funds somewhere.

The deputy sheriff brings in a tramp, and Martin recognizes the man to be a pal of his crook days. The tramp, Homes, forces Martin to release him. That night Martin enters the general merchandise store and has the safe opened when Homes, also out for robbing, enters. Homes forces Martin to divide the spoils with him, and more than ever Homes has a hold on him. At college Roy receives the money and also a letter from his mother stating how they are sacrificing for him. He is brought to his senses, and, packing up, hurriedly leaves for home. To his father he tells his whole story of life at college, and Martin realizes that his son has dissipated away the money for which he committed the crime.

A little later Roy obtains the position of deputy sheriff, acting under his father. While Homes tells Martin that he must aid him in one more robbery and that then he will leave the country. Martin is obliged to agree, and that night the express office is robbed. In the morning Roy is investigating the robbery when he finds a thumb print. This he takes a photograph of, and after it has been developed and printed he shows it to his father. His father takes it, and when Roy is handed the wet print back there appears an additional thumb print on it. A little study reveals to Roy that the two prints are similar, and he realizes that his own father must be the robber.

Martin again meets Homes, and Roy, who has followed his father, secretly watches them. Homes states that they must do one more job, and in a fury Martin knocks him down. Roy hurries to the scene, but before he arrives both men have drawn guns and both are dead. Others appear. All the money taken from the express office is found on Home, Martin having refused to take any of it, and later Roy shows his mother a copy of the Plumas newspaper, which gives a glowing tribute to Martin, stating that he met his death in the performance of his duty.

- Moving Picture World, June 24, 1916

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