The first, and apparently only, surviving film produced by the Colorado Motion Picture Company, Pirates of the Plains is a quite well-made story about two brothers, one a champion rodeo rider, the other a horse thief. Jim Webster (Colin "Bud" Chase) is convicted of a murder actually committed by brother Jack (Joe Ryan). When Jack is badly wounded in a shootout and confesses, Jim's girlfriend Nell (Josephine Wells), takes matters into her own hands. Racing to save her fiancee from the gallows, the spirited girl arrives just in time to shoot a well-placed bullet through the hangman's noose with the words, "Guilty he may be but he shall have a trial by law!" The Colorado Motion Picture Company was incorporated in Canon City in January of 1914 under the leadership of veteran Selig director Otis B. Thayer. The company was supported by local Colorado businessmen, many of whom appeared in bit parts in the company's films. Unfortunately, the firm suffered a fatal set-back during the filming of Across the Border (1914), when leading lady Grace McHugh and a cameraman drowned in the Arkansas River. Impending lawsuits forced the company to quietly disband, but director Thayer would continue to film in Colorado for several years.
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