Based on a narrative poem by Robert W. Service, The Song of the Wage Slave might well be the theme music for downtrodden blue-collar worker Ned Lane (Edmund Breese). Unappreciated on his job, Ned isn't even loved by his wife Mildred (Helen Martin), who married him just to "legitimize" her out-of-wedlock baby. When Frank Dawson (Fraunie Fraunholz) comes back into Mildred's life and begs her to marry him, Ned obligingly leaves town to allow his wife to follow her heart. Things go from bad to worse for Ned thereafter, culminating in a boozy gambling-house brawl in which he is reportedly killed. Assuming that she's a widow, Mildred accepts Dawson's proposal. Months later, the still-alive Ned returns as the head of a labor union, prepared to do battle against Dawson, who has fallen heir to his father's paper mill. Ned dies heroically in the ensuing fracas, saving Mildred from an accusation of bigamy. Ned's death also has a positive effect on the previously callous Dawson, who promises to treat his workers more fairly from now on.
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