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The Starbucks (1912) - Plot Summary Poster

(1912)

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  • Mrs. Mayfield, sister of Judge Elliot, of Nashville, dispirited over the dissolution of an unfortunate marriage, sits moodily in the Elliot home and broods. Judge Elliot, one-armed and a stern old veteran, finds it impossible to control her. The Judge's son, Tom, intensely fond of his aunt, suggests that they go forth in search of adventure into the Tennessee mountains. Mrs. Mayfield eagerly seizes the chance of escape from fashionable boredom. Straightway they make arrangements, and a few days later arrive in the heart of the hills and in the midst of a civilization so primeval and natural that Mrs. Mayfield's delight knows no bounds. They arrive at the home of Jasper Starbuck, a giant mountaineer, whose strong but simple nature, quaint philosophy and fearless courage charm the city folk and furnish a needed balm for the gentle, wounded nature of Mrs. Mayfield. In the days that follow, Tom and Lou Starbuck, Jasper's daughter, learn to love each other. Jim Starbuck, a country preacher and nephew of Jasper, pays a visit to the Starbucks at this time. Long-legged, awkward and extremely diffident, but possessed of a soul that revels in the beauties of nature, and also possessing a quaint backwoods eloquence and dauntless physical courage, Jim Starbuck appeals strongly to the imagination of Mrs. Mayfield. They are thrown much together, and love comes before either realizes it. Only big Jasper Starbuck, with his keen eye and whimsical humor, discovers the secrets of both couples. Adjoining the Starbuck property is the home of Lije Peters, a bully but not a coward. He is also passionate, unscrupulous and murderous in his likes and dislikes. He loves Lou Starbuck, but the girl spurns him, and his smoldering anger quickens into revengeful hate. Near the Starbuck home, old Jasper has made moonshine whiskey without a government license, just as his father and grandfather had done before him, and just as many of the residents in the neighborhood did. It was no secret, and the United States officers had long ceased to penetrate the deadly hills for offenders. Eager for revenge on the Starbucks, Lije Peters applies for the position of Deputy United States Marshal. In the meantime he makes many trips to the Starbuck home, and threatens old Jasper, demanding the hand of his daughter and loans of money. One day Lije's appointment came. Soon afterward he and two deputy marshals from Nashville wreck the Starbuck still. Jasper Starbuck, who had many notches to his credit on the stock of his Winchester, oils that weapon and goes out after his enemies. Twice he had a bead on them and twice he lowers his rifle, remembering that his daughter Lou is now the wife of Tom Elliot and that his nephew Jim has married Mrs. Mayfield. He hurls the rifle from him and then goes down to meet the officers. He is taken to the jail at Nashville, where he awaits trial with all the fortitude he can summon. Tom Elliot had telegraphed his father acquainting him with his own marriage and that of his aunt, but failed to give the maiden name of his wife. In reply, Judge Elliot writes his son a good-natured letter of congratulation. Incidentally he mentions that he is about to try an old soldier named Starbuck for moonshining, and that the prospect was anything but pleasant. The news brought the honeymoon couples post haste to Nashville. Mrs. Jasper Starbuck, who had become lonesome in her mountain home, also came to the prison to see her husband at this time. Out of respect for Jasper Starbuck, as a veteran, Judge Elliot decides to try the case in his chambers and not before a jury. The old soldier's plea is so eloquent that the Judge pardons him. At this moment Tom and Lou and Mrs. Mayfield and Mrs. Starbuck arrive on the scene. The Judge learns for the first time that Jasper Starbuck is the father of his son's wife, and inquires why the old soldier had not acquainted him with the fact. "Jedge," he replied, "it would have looked like I was a-cringin'. I know how to bleed for my country, but I don't know how to beg for myse'f."


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