~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 blessings.

Plot Synopsis is a combination of plot synopses from allmovie.com and afi.com.

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
Directed by:
William S. Hart
Lambert Hillyer

Written by: Lambert Hillyer

Based on the story by Frederick Bradbury