A judge who had taken part in the gold rush of 1849 hires an acting troupe to recreate the experience in this rather fanciful silent Western. The make-believe turns serious when a real gold mine is discovered nearby and a local girl is kidnapped by a nasty gambler.
Phyllis Narcissa, an underpaid children's librarian, eagerly accepts a dinner invitation from Horace de Guenther, one of her patrons, and happily entertains his invalid wife. Later, Mrs. de Guenther encourages Phyllis to meet with Mrs. Harrington, a dying rich woman whose son Allan, once a vigorous young man, was paralyzed in an auto accident. When Mrs. Harrington proposes to the librarian that she marry and take care of Allan in exchange for his wealth, Phyllis reluctantly consents. While struggling to cheer up the eternally gloomy Allan, Phyllis welcomes the visits of his friend, a doctor who informs her that her husband's paralysis may be psychosomatic.
The Birth of Patriotism
When Cindy Lane becomes pregnant, Mark Brierson, the father, refuses to marry her. Instead, Brierson romances Azalia Deering, whose father, General Deering, owns the town bank. Brierson misuses bank funds, but the bank is saved by Jack Rose, a wealthy farmer. Cindy's father Zeb vows to kill her lover, but she refuses to reveal the man's identity.
Buckskin Hamilton guides a wagon train across the wasteland, caring well for the pioneers he escorts, but hoping to solve the murder of his brother by one of the travellers.
The enemy's success in smuggling a spy through the lines places the Stratiria armies in a dangerous position. The spy is intercepted and killed by Pettrus Baariot, the telegraph operator, who then succeeds in sending a message that saves the Stratiria forces from defeat. For his heroism, Pettrus is promised a promotion, but after his recovery from his severe wounds, he is humiliated through the treachery of Danick Rysson, a government official who desires to marry Floria Natarre, Pettrus' beloved. Bitter, Pettrus listens to the overtures of one of the enemy and steals the new telegraph code.
A girl nicknamed "The Weed" lives with her foster parents in their mountain cabin and frequently visits a nearby health resort to sell milk and eggs. On one of her excursions, she befriends a cantankerous old millionaire, George Bassett, who later bequeaths to her his entire estate. Ralph Long's car plunges down an embankment, and he is dragged from the wreckage and looked after by the Weed, who soon captivates him with her charm and ingenuousness. While he is in the hospital, however, the lecherous Kenneth Stewart snaps a photo of the girl swimming in the nude in a mountain pool and hangs an enlargement of it in his club.