Cast & Crew
The wealthy and eccentric Harriet Breen has reared her son Tom and daughter Faire with an iron hand because she fears that the weight of their inheritance will promote irresponsibility. When Tom crashes a car, he borrows $10,000 from Harriet's business rival, William Remington, prompting Harriet to throw Tom out of the house. After two years, Harriet has earned more money and Faire is doing Tom's former work, which allows her to see her boyfriend, broker David Talbot, who works for Harriet. Harriet returns home from a trial against Remington in Washington, D.C. on the eve of her birthday, and is surprised by a visit from Tom, who has earned his keep and been promoted to the position of manager of the Mohawk Central Railroad. Although both children have prepared a birthday celebration for Harriet, she behaves coldly to them. Provoked to anger, Tom takes Faire out for the evening. After their departure, Harriet enjoys a good laugh because she realizes that her children do not recognize her deep love for them underneath her hard exterior. Harriet is aware of Tom's secret marriage to her former stenographer, and is pleased by his newly found confidence and independence. When David approaches Harriet with a proposal of marriage for Faire, Harriet fires him and calls him an "unscrupulous fortune-hunter," but David is not deterred from seeing Faire. Harriet's housekeeper, Maria Peppy, who is also an adopted daughter, is shocked to discover that her stern and unforgiving employer has purchased for her valuable shares in the Mohawk Central Railroad with her salary. One day, Harriet discovers Remington is involved in a corrupt business scheme and threatens to expose him. Remington threatens to hurt her through Tom, whom he believes despises his mother and would gladly sell her out. At a business meeting with Harriet, Remington and Tom, Tom proves his love for his mother, and Remington's attempts to ruin her financially and kill both Tom and Harriet are unsuccessful. Harriet appears to undergo a personality change when she approves Faire's marriage to David, reveals to Tom her joyous acceptance of his marriage, and purchases the railroad for which Tom works. Having proven her children's capabilities, Harriet adopts a permanently softened demeanor, much to the pleasure of her children.
William L. Thorne
Although copyright records note that the film was based on a Howard McKent Barnes stage play entitled Mother's Millions, no record of a production of that play could be found. Modern sources note that the play was copyrighted as Old Iron, while Universal Properties records note that the studio purchased the "photoplay and negatives" from Liberty Productions for $200,000, and that it was based on a story by Barnes and Louise Closser Hale. Hale's contribution to the released film has not been determined. The film was copyrighted three times, once as The She-Wolf and twice as Mother's Millions. It was also reviewed under both titles and, according to New York Times, was briefly known as The She-Wolf of Wall Street.