Norris gets a job as a ranch hand and falls in love with Kate, the rancher's daughter. The jealous foreman challenges him to a fight, but he refuses, and Kate thinks he's a coward. When smallpox hits the ranch, Norris cares for the sick at the risk of his own life, and shows Kate his true heroism.
Norris Hilton, a young novelist, is suffering from a nervous breakdown and leaves for a western ranch that is in need of hands. His refined, clean-cut appearance rather amuses the foreman and he is engaged more in the spirit of a joke than anything else; but when introduced to the ranchman's family he meets the pretty daughter and it is a case of love at first sight. This upsets the foreman who is sweet on the girl himself and he induces the boys to impose on the tenderfoot hoping to drive him away or ridicule him before the girl. Hilton swallows all for he is indeed deeply infatuated with the artless little ranch girl. As this has no effect the foreman tries another plan, that of insulting him in the effort to force him to fight, but personal combat is not his idea of bravery, and he refuses to fight although the foreman goes to the extreme in his provocations. The girl, with her western ideas, is awfully disappointed in him, and scorns him as a coward. This is elation for the foreman. However, there is the real kind of bravery and Hilton possesses that. A poor Indian is stricken with smallpox, and the gang would have thrown him into a ditch to die, had not Hilton come up and taken the poor fellow in his arms and carried him to a deserted shack, where he cares for him, he himself denied the right to step beyond the dead-line the gang has drawn and guarded. The next day the father of the girl is afflicted with the dread disease, and the boys are just as merciless with him as they were with the Indian, afraid to go near him, forcing him at the points of pitchforks and revolvers across the dead-line, where he is picked up and tenderly cared for by Hilton, who is now himself showing symptoms of a the disease. Hilton, with the assistance of a doctor who has come from town, nurses the victims back to perfect health, but he has neglected himself in the care of them and, although cured is marked for life. The boys now realize what real bravery is and Hilton is regarded as the hero of the ranch. Of course, the girl has now no thought of scorn. She, despite his marked face, regards him as her hero.
—Moving Picture World synopsis
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