Filmgoers in 1916 needed only to see the name of director Maurice Tourneur in the credits to know that they were in for five reels of solid entertainment and magnificent cinematography. Tourneur's The Closed Road was set in motion by the efforts of Dr. Hugh Tannersly (Lionel Adams) to discover a cure for cancer. Strapped for cash, Tannersly begins calling in his loans, including a substantial amount owed to him by a musician named Griswold (George Cowl). Not long afterward, Griswold is found murdered, and Tannersly is named as the most likely suspect. It so happens that Griswold has a neighbor, a miserable young man named Frank Sargeant (House Peters Sr.). Told that he has but six months to live, Sargeant prepares to commit suicide but is prevented from doing so by Tannersly's sister Julia (Barbara Tennant). Hoping to save her brother from the gallows, Julia persuades Sargeant, who is "doomed" anyway, to confess to Griswold's murder. This he does, totally unaware that he is actually in perfect health -- and that it was Sargeant's own physician, Dr. Applebaum (Leslie Stowe), who killed Griswold.
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