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Outside the Law

Outside the Law(1938)

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Dr. James Meade, a well-known surgeon who has worked at his New York clinic for ten years, announces one day that he is going on vacation and leaves for the remote town of Coltersville. There he spends his time hunting deer with his host, Jim Stoner. While hunting, Meade thinks he sees a buck and shoots, but the bullet hits a young boy, Thad Lacey, who was carrying a deer that had already been killed. Injured in the shoulder, Thad is taken by the two men to Dr. Silas Hazard, who does not have an official license to practice medicine. When Meade realizes that Hazard uses old-fashioned methods of treatment and refuses to apply modern techniques, he insists on treating Thad himself until Thad's father intervenes and assigns Hazard to the task. Hazard soon botches the operation and Thad's condition grows worse. Meanwhile, Thad's cousin Bonnie, a nursing student, convinces his mother to send for Meade, who saves the boy with an emergency operation. The local residents, however, resent Meade's interference and have him fined for practicing medicine without a local license. Despite the growing animosity toward him by the townspeople, Meade, believing that he can help the community, opens a modern clinic at Stoner's place, with Bonnie as his nurse. When the townspeople try to force Meade to adopt old-fashioned techniques, he is joined by Hazard's son Mart in defending the doctor's ways to the angry crowd, which soon disperses. A typhoid outbreak forces Meade to quarantine dairyman Mr. Thurber and vaccinate all children against the will of their parents. Fearing that Thurber's milk has been contaminated, Meade shuts down Thurber's dairy. On the evening of a village festival, Thurber escapes from quarantine and sells contaminated ice cream at the festival. As a typhoid epidemic spreads through the community, the townspeople become divided over whom to favor, Meade or Hazard: while Meade gains the favor of the younger population, Hazard gains the older. Hazard remains obstinate until his daughter collapses, which makes him realize his folly and confess his failure. After saving Hazard's daughter, Meade successfully stops the spread of the disease and gains the admiration of the community. With the establishment of a new clinic in Coltersville to his credit, Meade returns to New York with Mart and Mart's new sweetheart, Bonnie.