Three poems by Bret Harte were made into a play, and the resulting story was faithfully committed to the screen by director Alexander Beyfuss. While traveling from Marysville to the mining camp Poverty Flat, Joe (Frederick Lewis) meets Lily (Beatriz Michelena), the daughter of the man who owns the camp's store. He becomes her hero when he saves her from an Indian attack, but at the camp, there is a rival for his affections, Hamlin, a good-hearted gambler (Andrew Robson). A jealous girl convinces Lily that Joe is involved with an Indian maiden, so Lily goes to Paris with her parents and Hamlin. While they're away, the parents find out there's a flaw in their deed, but Hamlin saves them from financial disaster by playing his first and only crooked game with a Count. He wins enough money to cover their debt and they return to Poverty Flat. Back home, Joe has run into trouble with a group of robbers, but Hamlin comes to the rescue. The bandit leader mortally wounds Hamlin, but he lives long enough to make sure that Lily and Joe are reunited.
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