A Frontier Hero (1910)
Short, Drama · 22 July 1910
The action of this story takes place on the frontier of Kentucky in 1800. Inside a stockade several settlers have their log cabin homes. The family with which we are concerned consists of a frontiersman, his wife and four children, the oldest, Tom, a boy of fourteen, the youngest a baby girl, Ruth. The children have a constant playmate in a magnificent collie dog called Shep. One day the father goes hunting with the other men of the settlement. In their anxiety to be early at the hunting ground they forget to close the gate of the stockade. At about this point the adventure which is portrayed in the picture begins. Ruth sees a favorable opportunity to investigate the region beyond the stockade, and, while her mother is in another part of the cabin and her older sister is busily engaged in poking the ashes in the open fireplace, she quietly walks out of the cabin door and on through the stockade and rambles off into the hills. On returning to the room the mother misses the child. Tom and his younger brother are bringing in logs for the fire, and to her questions as to the whereabouts of the baby they answer that they haven't seen her. The little sister whose back was turned tells the mother that the baby was "right there," pointing to the place where the baby was playing on the floor with Shep. The mother sends Tom one way and, taking the girl with her, goes in the opposite direction, in the meantime alarming the neighbors in the settlement. Returning to the cabin in the hope that Ruth may have wandered hack, the mother discovers for the first time the open gate in the stockade. A great fear seizes her. Tom, a boy of quick mind, calls Shep, shows him the little bonnet belonging to his baby sister, and talks earnestly to the dog. The intelligent brute seems to understand, for, hardly allowing Tom time enough to slip a rope around his neck and grasp a rifle, he darts out through the door of the cabin and on out the gate. Ruth has meanwhile wandered away, stopping now and then, and picking wild flowers as she goes. A hostile Indian skulking near the settlement has found the child and made off with her. We now see an exciting hunt. Over the ground where we have seen the Indian take the child we watch the boy, led by the dog, following the trail. The Indian, feeling safe from pursuit, slackens his pace and is about to rest for a moment when Tom and Shep discover him in the distance. He hears the approach of the boy and the dog at the same time and, quickly letting the baby down, turns on Tom and fires. Tom is also quick with his weapon and shoots at the Indian. Shep dashes on toward the Indian, but as the savage falls and struggles away the dog changes his mind and goes to protect the baby girl. Tom struggles, wounded as he is, toward the dog and the child and, taking his handkerchief from about his neck, he ties it on that of the dog and commands him to go home. The faithful brute seems to realize that something urgent is expected of him, for immediately he receives the command he dashes on and away toward the settlement. For a moment Tom talks to his sister and then suddenly faints away. The little one, not understanding his silence, tries to rouse him by shaking him. Unsuccessful and thinking that he is asleep, she lies down beside him, places her weary little head upon big brother's bosom and finally falls asleep herself. We now follow Shep in his homeward race for help. We see him cross a beautiful mountain stream, dash on down to the settlement and arrive at the outside of the stockade just after the father has returned with his friends from the hunt. While they are in the cabin listening to the agonizing story of the loss of the baby they hear Shep's bark and rush to the stockade gate to admit the faithful brute. Seeing Tom's handkerchief they immediately start back after the dog, who bounds away ahead of them. When they arrive at the scene of the fight they find Tom lying on the ground and his baby sister peacefully sleeping with her head resting on big brother's shoulder. For a moment it is feared that Tom has been killed, but when they revive him they find that his wound is slight. The fond parents, of course, are in ecstasies of delight over the finding of the baby, and also over the fact that Tom is not seriously injured. In all this the faithful dog is not lost sight of and comes in for many a hearty pat.
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