skip navigation
The Swordsman

The Swordsman(1947)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)

DVDs from TCM Shop

The Swordsman A couple tries a hand at... MORE > $17.95 Regularly $20.95 Buy Now


powered by AFI

DVDs from TCM Shop

The Swordsman A couple tries a hand at... MORE > $17.95
Regularly $20.95
buy now

At the end of the 17th century, in Scotland, Barbara Glowan, the niece of Lord Glowan, patriarch of the Glowan clan, meets young Alexander MacArden, who has just returned from college in London. The MacArden clan has been at war with the Glowans for generations, and consequently, Alexander, who is attracted to the lovely Barbara, introduces himself as Donald Fraser. When the coach stops at the local church, Alexander bids Barbara farewell, and she invites him to a May Day celebration at Castle Glowan. Robert Glowan, Barbara's vengeful cousin and would-be suitor, begrudges Barbara's interest in the newcomer. Accompanied by his uncle Angus, Alexander proceeds home to Glen Arden and there infuriates his father, Mac-Ian, with talk of settling the feud between the clans. Accused of cowardice by his cousin Ronald, Alexander counters by announcing his plans to attend the Glowan's May Day celebration. Angus insists on escorting Alexander to the party and watches from a safe distance as Barbara introduces his nephew to her family as Donald Fraser. After the day's festivities end, Angus signals Alexander that it is time to leave. Before departing, Alexander admits to Barbara that he is a MacArden and arranges to meet her later that afternoon at the church. Recognizing Angus lurking in the distance, Robert and his brother Colin ambush the MacArdens along the road home. In the skirmish, Colin is killed and Angus wounded. Robert, disarmed by Alexander, retreats. On the way to her clandestine rendezvous with Alexander, Barbara is summoned back to Glowan castle, and there Robert claims that he and Colin were attacked by the MacArdens. When Barbara overhears Robert and his brother Bruce plotting to capture Alexander at the church, she sends her cousin Murdoch to warn him. On the road to the church, Bruce orders Murdoch to abandon his mission, and when he refuses, Bruce kills him. Later, Robert insists upon accompanying Barbara to her meeting and thinking that Alexander has ridden to safety, she agrees. When Barbara arrives at the church with Robert, Alexander accuses her of betrayal and refuses to surrender. Taken prisoner to Glowan castle, Alexander is charged with Colin's murder and sentenced to death. Barbara defends his innocence, but when she visits Alexander in his cell, he refuses to absolve her of complicity in his capture. Soon after, Old Andrew, a loyal servant to the Glowans, finds Murdoch's body in the forest and notifies Barbara. Realizing that Murdoch was killed on his mission to warn Alexander, Barbara finds Angus and warns him of his nephew's peril. Angus enlists Barbara's aid in freeing Alexander, and later that night, following his orders, she secrets a note in Glowan castle, stating that Murdoch's body can be found at Andrew's cottage. Believing that Andrew is planning to blackmail him, Bruce goes to the cottage and is greeted by Mac-Ian, who takes him prisoner. Accompanied by Ronald and Angus, Mac-Ian proceeds to Glowan castle and offers Bruce's life in exchange for Alexander. When Lord Glowan accedes to the MacArdens' terms, Robert insults the MacArden honor and Ronald slaps him, thus issuing a challenge for a duel to the death. As the time nears for the duel, Alexander meets Barbara at the church once more and after proclaiming his love for her, declares that he is leaving Scotland and asks her to join him. After they embrace, Barbara begs him to stay and try to stop the massacre. Mollified by Barbara's love, Alexander visits Lord Glowan and offers his hand in peace. When Lord Glowan accepts, a glowering Robert schemes with Bruce to annihilate the MacArdens. Under the pretense of going hunting, Robert assembles a band of men to attack Arden Hall. Hoping to lull the MacArdens into a state of complacency, Robert and Bruce then visit Arden Hall to celebrate the peace between the clans. Suspicious of Robert's motives, Barbara rides to Glen Arden, and when she learns of Robert's army, sends a message alerting Lord Glowan. After a night of festivities, the castle retires and Robert gives the signal to attack just as Barbara arrives to warn the MacArdens of the impending massacre. Mac-Ian shoots Bruce in self-defense while Alexander crosses swords with Robert. Just as Robert's men lay siege to the castle, the Glowan clan rides to the rescue, and Lord Glowan charges Robert with defiling the clan and sentences him to death. Alexander and Barbara are then wed, finally uniting the clans for the ages.