Pioneering female director Nell Shipman was so little known to the big-city film critics that the trade magazine Variety's 1928 review of The Golden Yukon billed her as <I>Neil</I> Shipman. Most existing evidence indicates that Golden Yukon was the reissue title of Shipman's 1923 film The Grub Stake, which had bombed at the box office during its first run, reportedly because of an unscrupulous distributor. Shipman plays the leading role as an innocent young girl who marries an Alaskan saloon owner, only to find out that the marriage was a phony and that her new husband expects her to "service" his customers. Escaping this fate, Shipman falls in love with another man, whereupon she learns that her "sham" marriage to the saloon keeper was actually legal and aboveboard. Only the death of the villain solves this dilemma, but before this fortuitous happenstance, the heroine runs off to the woods, where she makes friends with a likeable bear and gets mixed up with a crazy miner who strikes it rich. With more subplots than an Erich Von Stroheim picture, The Grub Stake may well have been Nell Shipman's most ambitious picture, if not necessarily her best.
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