A company detective goes undercover to expose a gang that uses inside information to rob gold shipments.
Bandits capture a gold shipment from the Colorado mines. Where did they get the information that the shipment was to be made? A detective is sent from the company's Chicago office to aid John Davis, mine superintendent, in finding the criminals. Under their very noses another shipment is stolen. Frank Lawlor, clerk in the office, loves Davis' daughter, Dora. The girl feels a strange repugnance for the man. When the detective Murdock arrives, her woman's heart awakens. Lawler is angry, but conceals his feelings. Another shipment is to be made. Murdock gathers a posse and sends them out. He is starting himself for their hiding place when Dora comes along on her horse. Love drives out other thoughts for a few moments, when a sudden flash of sunlight strikes their faces. Murdock is startled. Taking his field-glasses he sees Lawler on a distant hill, flashing a signal with a mirror to someone below. The treacherous clerk returns to the office. Murdock, leading the posse, captures the accomplices. Dora is holding Lawlor at the office by pretending to accept his hated love making when the posse returns. Seeing the game is up, Lawlor attempts to escape, is shot and his body brought back. Dora and Murdock acknowledge their love as the picture fades.
This one reel silent film western isn't in the best of shape, but it features a rare good guy played by Lon Chaney at the beginning of his career. It's really a bit part, and he looks almost how you would expect him to look in real life. The film is pretty hard to follow because there isn't enough time for character or plot development, and both the title sequences and a shot of a letter seem to have faded with time. It's got the typical bandits (out to steal some gold), a hero, the damsel in distress, and several clichéd supporting characters (including Chaney). I rank this one as more a curiosity for film historians and students, one lessened in impact by the passage of time and a reminded that really nothing, including the best art, lasts forever.
"By the Sun's Rays" is an early Lon Chaney film best remembered for the scene in which he attempts to rape the heroine. It's essentially an early western complete with robbery, treachery and vengeance and runs a mere 11 minutes.
The mining office is being robbed of it's gold shipments. It appears that the gang is being warned in advance of the shipments from within. Manager John Davis (Seymour Hasting) is puzzled. The company dispatches detective John Murdock (Murdoch MacQuarrie) to solve the crimes. Clerk Frank Lawler (Lon Chaney) is under suspicion who also has lustful eyes for Davis' beautiful young daughter Dora (Agnes Vernon).
While rounding up the crooks, Murdock discovers that Lawler has been signaling the gang with a mirror by the sun's rays. Davis tells his daughter to return to the office to keep Lawler busy until the posse's return. A frustrated Lawler sees his opportunity and..............................
I'm not positive, but I believe that this film is the oldest surviving Lon Chaney film. A pity. a5c7b9f00b
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