In her fifth film for producer Samuel Goldwyn, elfin comedienne Mabel Normand was cast as bored heiress Stephanie Trent. Unimpressed by the crop of men on the Eastern seaboard, Stephanie heads to a remote forest community, adopting an assumed name and taking a job as the local schoolmarm. Here she meets Jimmie Raymond (Herbert Rawlinson), who passes himself off as a rugged woodsman. Truth to tell, however, Jimmie is a famous novelist, likewise living pseudonymously in the forest, and almost as wealthy as Stephanie. Hoping to impress the heroine with his heroics, Jimmie hires a local dimwit to "kidnap" Stephanie so that he, Jimmie, can come racing to the rescue. Predictably, the scheme misfires, whereupon Jimmie alibis that he was merely trying to get story material for his latest novel. In retaliation, Stephanie arranges for Jimmie to be kidnapped and royally humiliated by the local lumbermen, explaining that, as a schoolteacher, she wanted to "analyze" Jimmie's behavior while in captivity. Ultimately, the hero and heroine stop playing their silly games and fall in love. Only the patented charm of Mabel Normand saved Back to the Woods from being so much sawdust.
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