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~The Cradle of Courage~
~L345-27: William S. Hart & Ann Little~
~Plot Synopsis~
Cowboy star William S. Hart takes one of his rare vacations from Westerns in this picture to play a
crook-turned-cop (at least he's still playing the good-bad man). At the end of World War I, infamous
safecracker Square Kelly (William S. Hart) returns home to San Francisco, weathered by the ravages of
war. Accompanied by Jack Riley, the soldier with whom he served in the trenches, Kelly descends the
ship's plank to dockside, where he is greeted by Jack's father, Lt. Riley (George B. Williams) of the San
Francisco police department, and Jack's sister Nora (Barbara Bedford). Kelly then goes home to his
aging mother, who informs him that his brother Jim (Frank Thorwald) and the rest of his old gang are
waiting for him at Tierney's Café, the criminals' headquarters. As his mother eagerly recounts the
gang's plans, Kelly begins to experience doubts about his former way of life. Nevertheless, Kelly goes to
the café, where he is welcomed by Tierney's daughter Rose (Ann Little), a victim of her father's abuse.
As the gang tries to enlist Kelly in their future exploits, Jack discusses his friend's reformation with his
father, then calls to invite him for dinner. At dinner that night, Lt. Riley offers Kelly a job on the police
force and a chance to go straight. Upon returning home, Kelly is torn between the Lieutenant's offer
and Jim's entreaties to join him in a burglary planned for later that night. After agreeing to meet Jim
and the rest of the gang in ten minutes, Kelly reflects upon the horrors of war and determines to
relinquish his life of crime. When Kelly informs his mother of his decision, she denounces him as a
coward and throws him out of the house. Outside the café, Kelly tells a relieved Rose that he plans to go
straight, prompting her to warn him that her father will seek revenge. After Kelly announces that he is
quitting the gang, Tierney (Tom Santschi) challenges him to a fight and Kelly soundly thrashes him. To
retaliate, Tierney decides to pit Jim against his brother. With Jim as his accomplice, Tierney breaks into
a home on Kelly's beat. When Kelly discovers them, Jim refuses to shoot at his brother and Tierney
shoots Jim in the back, drops his gun, then flees. Feeling responsible for his brother's death, Kelly visits
his grieving mother (Gertrude Claire) and, after showing her the gun that killed Jim, proclaims that he is
no longer acting as a cop, but as a man seeking vengeance for his brother's murder. Finally forgiving
her son, Mrs. Kelly identifies the gun as belonging to Tierney. At the tavern, Kelly confronts Tierney.
After Tierney shoots and wounds Kelly, Kelly returns fire and kills him, and then declares that Tierney
was resisting arrest. While convalescing with Rose at his side, Kelly is visited by his mother. Their
reconciliation is made complete when Kelly informs her that he plans to marry Rose and she offers her

Plot Synopsis is a combination of plot synopses from and

William S. Hart ...  'Square' Kelly
Ann Little ...  Rose Tierney
Tom Santschi ...  Tierney
Gertrude Claire ...  Mother Kelly
Frank Thorwald ...  Jim Kelly
George Williams ...  Lieutenant Riley
Barbara Bedford ...  Nora
~Remaining Credits~

Production Company: William S. Hart

Distribution Company: Paramount-Artcraft Pictures

Produced by: William S. Hart  
Cinematography by: Joseph H. August  
Art Direction by: J.C. Hoffner    
Art Titles by: Harry Barndollar

Length: 5 Reels
Runtime: 50 Minutes
Released: September 19, 1920
Other Links That You Might Find Helpful to you for this film: - general information (data base form) - plot synopsis - general information also including plot synopsis - general
Directed by:
William S. Hart
Lambert Hillyer

Written by:
Frederick Bradbury - story
Lambert Hillyer - writer