Louise Glaum, who outside of Theda Bara was perhaps the screen's most popular "vamp," headed the cast of Shackled. Glaum was starred as woman-of-the-world Lola Dexter, who carries on a romance with wastrelly millionaire Walter Cosgrove (Charles West) on the assumption that he intends to marry her. But the caddish Cosgrove dumps Lola in favor of a more lucrative marriage to heiress Edith Danfield (Roberta Wilson). Declaring vengeance against all men, Lola uses the "payoff money" given to her by Cosgrove to purchase a fabulous wardrobe and fancy yacht, the better to seek out wealthy male victims. Eventually she grows to hate herself and tries to commit suicide, but she is prevented from doing so by a kindly invalid (Lawson Butt) who turns out to be Edith's father. Invited to visit the invalid's home, Lola is uncomfortably reunited with Cosgrove, but she agrees to keep mum about their past relationship. When Edith's former sweetheart James Ashley (John Gilbert) returns from the battlefields of France, however, Lola quickly deduces that Edith is still in love with the boy. Hoping to provide Edith with grounds for divorce, Lola puts the moves on Cosgrove, who, being the bounder that he is, enthusiastically succumbs to her charms. When Cosgrove realizes what Lola is up to, Cosgrove tries to murder her but ends up accidentally killing himself. Edith and James are reunited, while Edith's father, willing to forgive Lola for her past transgressions, proposes marriage to her. Lola promises to give him her answer the following day -- then quietly slips out of the Danfield mansion, never to return.
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