Although John Greenleaf Whittier wrote the poem Barbara Frietchie, it was actually the Clyde Fitch play that served as inspiration for both this and the 1915 film by the same name. In the days before the Civil War, southerner Barbara Frietchie (Florence Vidor) falls in love with Captain Trumbull (Edmund Lowe), a northern friend of her brother, Arthur (Charles Delaney). But when the war between the states breaks out, Trumbull must fight for the North. His troops take over Frederickstown, where the Frietchies live, and Barbara discovers her love for him overrides her feelings for the Confederacy. The couple goes to Hagerstown to marry, but a Confederate advance prevents the wedding. Arthur Frietchie wounds Trumbull and takes him into his own home. Because she believes her sweetheart is dying, Barbara hangs the stars and stripes out the window as the Confederates march by. The crowd is furious, but Stonewall Jackson, impressed by her courage, announces that anyone who harms her is to be shot. One man, Trumbull's rival, Jack Negly (Joe Bennett), ignores the order and shoots Barbara. She is not seriously wounded, and she then discovers that Trumbull is still alive. She nurses him back to health, and after the war they are finally married.