On Secret Service
Release Date
1 November 1912

On Secret Service (1912)

Short, Drama
Fred Martin is a Southern spy. A northern dispatch bearer is captured, and the signature to his messages is forged and Martin is sent on the dangerous mission of luring the Northern troops into an ambush. He accomplishes this, and a terrible battle results, in which the Federals are driven back. The work of Martin is so damaging to the North that plans are laid for his capture, and John Bruce, a secret service man, is assigned to the task. He goes to Martin's home town and presents a forged letter of introduction to the Martins, purporting to be signed by Fred Martin. He is welcomed into the home and to further his ends makes love to Anna Martin. While in the Martin home the Northern troops surround the house and Bruce, fearing that his plans to capture Martin will fall if the field is not left clear for him to return, is compelled to make himself known to the Northern officer. Fred Martin is expected on a visit that night, so Bruce shows his credentials as a secret service man and instructs the soldiers to secrete themselves about the house. In bidding good-bye to Anna he drops the passport, and she learns the awful truth. Anna has been expecting her brother, and has given the signal, a candle in the window, that the coast was clear. Gun in hand, Bruce awaits Fred, and the anguished girl sees the spy in the moonlight, crouching behind a bush. Galloping towards home, Fred is surprised on a bridge by two northern sentries. Dismounting, he hands them a pass hoping they will be deceived by the northern uniform he is wearing. In swift succession he delivers crushing blows upon the faces of the sentries, and they tumble off the bridge into the water, and leaping on his horse he gallops away. With swift strokes one of the sentries gets to shore, and leveling his rifle takes a quick shot at Fred as he goes around a bend in the road, little thinking it will hit the mark. Fred's horse is struck, and leaping into the air it turns a complete somersault backwards and falls on Fred, Crushed and hurt, Fred extricates himself from the dying animal, and crawls away. The delay has saved him, for the northern soldiers awaiting him give him up in the early hours of the morning, and when Fred drags himself to the door he is unobserved. Anna and her mother put Fred to bed. In his wounded condition he is helpless, and Anna realizes that he must be captured unless she saves him. Attempting to leave the house, her way is barred by a northern sentry. Donning her brother's clothes she manages to affect her escape, and leaping on a horse gallops swiftly away. Bruce has determined upon a bold stroke, and impersonating Fred he goes to the union colonel and tells him a detachment of southern soldiers is nearby, and attempts to lead the northern soldiers into an ambush. In the meantime Anna is making a wild ride, sparing neither the horse nor herself, and she arrives in time to bare Bruce's plot, and accuse him. On her part, Anna has fallen desperately in love with Bruce, and he has lost his heart to the brave girl, but each buries personal feeling for the sake of their respective countries. Bruce is arrested and quickly tried and convicted of being a spy. He is led out in the field, and a dozen soldiers face him with leveled rifles. Anna sees the impending execution and with an agonized scream darts across the field, but the rifles thunder a volley and the man she loves falls dead. The picture ends with Anna sobbing over the dead secret service man. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
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