Nell Shipman


Directed by                 Bert Van Tuyle
Produced by               Nell Shipman Productions Inc.
Written by                  Nell Shipman
Starring                      Nell Shipman
Cinematography        Joseph B. Walker
Release date                February 18, 1923
Running time              100 minutes
Country                       US
Language                     Silent film


This film is part of our series 'Hidden Gems'. It can be watched by registered users who make a donation. For more details, please click here.


We have included this film in our program to illustrate the work and contributions of our star Nell Shipman.


"The Grub-Stake" is a Klondike drama that builds to a powerful climax.

Faith (Nell Shipman) is a young woman, who lives with her ailing father (Walt Whitman).  After losing her modeling job they hit hard times and she sells her beautiful hair for money.  She is approached by an elderly man by the name of Leroy (Alfred Allen), who lures her to Alaska with stories about gold and riches. With little to lose and her father to care for, she can't resist the temptation.  During the trip Leroy proposes marriage, but tells Faith it must be kept a secret for a while.

Once in Dawson Leroy takes Faith to a dance-hall party, where she is shocked to learn that he is actually a married man.  She also finds out that she is supposed to become a dance-hall girl and that Leroy conspires to get rid of her father.  Faith decides to leave Dawson and look for luck in Klondike with the help of an old prospector (George Berrell), who has been looking fruitlessly for a gold creek he once found.

Faith, her father and the old miner go deep into the frozen North on dog sleighs.  They can't find the miner's claim and cabin, however, and their situation becomes desperate as they run out of dog food.  The old prospector leaves to look for help.  When Faith goes searching for firewood, she is scared by a cougar and gets lost in the woods.  She becomes hopeless, but is miraculously adopted by a brown bear and spends much time living with wild animals.  She is then found by a young man (Hugh Thompson), who lives in a cabin close by with his mother (Lillian Leighton).  On their way back they find the old miner's gold creek and claim.

In the meantime a policeman shows up in the area looking for Faith and her father.  It turns out that Leroy accused his "wife" of stealing his dogs.  The old miner goes back to Dawson to register his claim, but can't keep his mouth shut.  Leroy and his gang get the miner intoxicated, then torture him to reveal the location of his gold find.

The plot thickens as all the players concentrate in the gold creek area.  Faith gets into a fist fight with Leroy, but is overpowered and has to flee, with him giving chase.  They both end up on the edge of a cliff on top of a narrow ledge that can't hold both of them.  As Leroy approaches Faith knows that at least one of them will fall down into the precipice and die.

The film enjoys a very nice rating in IMDB.


The Grub Stake (1923) on IMDb


Click to enlarge:

Nell Shipman in The Grub Stake 1923 22

   Nell Shipman


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Below is a short preview of the film.