Young Fugitives


1h 7m 1938

Brief Synopsis

Old Joel Bentham (Harry Davenport) is awarded $50,000 as the last surviving Civil War veteran in his part of the country. His fellow townsmen in Cleardale are more than willing to help him spend it, but he remembers their neglectful years and decides to spend it as he sees fit. He offers a home to Meg (Dorothea Kent) who has been forced into a hobo life by economic stress and also takes in Ray Riggins (Robert Wilcox), wild young grandson of a war comrade. He promises to make Ray his heir, against the advice of his servant, Benjie Collins (Clem Bevans.) Ray plans, with the aid of some former criminal pals, to rob the old man but changes his mind and is fighting a losing battle against the crooks when a corps of American Legion men, coming to escort Joel to a train, mops up the robbers.

Film Details

Also Known As
Afraid to Talk
Release Date
Jun 24, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

The few surviving veterans of the American Civil War, who were members of the Grand Army of the Republic, or G.A.R., celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Union victory. Joel Bentham, like the other elderly participants in the celebration, lives inexpensively on his monthly pension check, to the dissatisfaction of his landlady, Miss Letty. Joel's friend, Benjie Collins, informs Joel that another of their group, Tom Riggins, is dying. Tom's final request is that Joel look after his estranged grandson, Ray Riggins. After Tom's death, Joel learns that he is the last surviving veteran of the G.A.R., and so receives a jackpot of $50,000 to which members have been contributing for many years. As Joel reflects on all those who died on both sides of the conflict, his hometown of Cloverdale, which had previously snubbed him, holds a large but hypocritical rally in his honor. Only Kathy had treated Joel well, and he gives her $5,000 before leaving town for Tom's farm. Near the railroad depot, Joel and Benjie encounter police trying to arrest an unwelcome "tribe" of tramps as they jump off the train. When one of the tramps, Meg, jumps into their car, Joel saves her from jail by claiming that she is his granddaughter. As Joel recalls the battle of Fredericksburg, Meg tells him that her sister was recently killed there when she fell under a train. When Ray finally arrives at his grandfather's, Joel buys the farm from him for $2,000, however, when Ray learns from Meg of Joel's recent wealth, he decides to stay with them. Benjie also worries about Ray, and when Ray cheats in a chess game, Joel is finally prepared to believe the worst about him. Joel then announces he will soon deposit the remainder of his money in a bank, but, without telling Ray, buries the money in the yard. Although Ray and Meg have fallen in love, she is suspicious of Ray's sincerity. Finally, after first urging her to steal Joel's money, Ray agrees to return to the city and make his own living. Soon after, a group of gangsters with whom Ray was once involved stop at the farm to hide out. As the gangsters begin to beat the elderly men to force them to reveal the whereabouts of the money, the Decoration Day parade marches by to honor Joel. The gangsters try to escape, but Joel shoots the tire of their automobile, and they are captured. The parade takes Joel to the meeting of the American Legion, where he will be the guest of honor, along with the President of the United States.

Film Details

Also Known As
Afraid to Talk
Release Date
Jun 24, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Afraid to Talk. The Variety review erroneously credits George Robinson with direction.