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The Right of Way

The Right of Way(1931)

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Charley "Beauty" Steele is a brilliant Canadian lawyer who drinks too much and is cruel to his wife. After his successful defense of a murderer, Joseph Portugais, he returns to his wife, accusing her of having an affair with a former lover in his absence. He discovers that his brother-in-law Billy has stolen money that belongs to one of his clients from his safe. Steele follows him to a gambling establishment where Billy confesses that he needed the money to cover gambling debts. Steele tries to retrieve his money from the gambler who refuses to return it and a battle between them over the money results in severe injuries to Steele. Joe is in the bar that night and rescues Steele. He takes Steele to a village in the midst of the woods and nurses him to health with the help of the village cure and Rosalie Evantural, who works at the post office. Steele recovers physically but suffers from amnesia. Using the name Charles Mallard, Steele apprentices himself to a tailor. He falls in love with Rosalie and she agrees to marry him. When he learns of their plans, Joe can no longer keep silent and he reveals Steele's true identity. Steele realizes he is already married and will be accused of stealing his client's funds. Loving Rosalie too much to ruin her life, he refuses to marry her and she becomes engaged to a wealthy land owner. When he learns of her engagement, Steele returns to Rosalie. He tells her he loves her but must go away to take care of something in his previous life. Rosalie asks for his promise to return. At home, Steele learns that his wife, believing him dead, has married her old lover and is happy. Billy meets him in the streets and begs Steele to remain dead. When he refuses, Billy follows him to the north woods and shoots him. Steele and Rosalie say goodbye before the angel of death comes for him.