Silent screen star Ruth Roland earned a reputation as something of a prima donna. The offscreen shenanigans in this troubled Western serial did nothing to quell the rumors. Ruth played Ruth Remington, a Western gal attempting to protect her inventor father from a gang of cutthroats. Old man Remington has discovered a synthetic coal, called "Fuelite," which several villains desperately want. The production company, Pathé, quickly replaced the serial's original director, the slow-working veteran Ernest C. Warde, who also played the inventor, with action specialist W.S. Van Dyke. Van Dyke and the demanding Roland had survived several clashes before, but Ruth of the Range broke the camel's back, so to speak, and Van Dyke simply quit. Miss Roland also found fault with her leading man, South African actor Bruce Gordon, whom she demanded replaced as well. That, however, proved too expensive and Gordon stayed until the bitter end, vowing never to work with Roland again. Add to all that the death in mid-production of scenarist Gordon Willetts, which left the serial without a proper ending. To the rescue came veteran writer Frank Leon Smith, who not only managed to conjure up an exciting finale, but also functioned as de facto director after Van Dyke's departure.
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