The Gold Rush Synopsis
Synopsis of the film exactly as written by the Chaplin Studios in 1925.
The Lone Prospector, a valiant weakling, seeks fame and fortune with the sturdy men who marched across Chilkoot Pass into the great unknown in the mad rush for hidden gold in the Alaskan wilderness. Lonely, his soul fired by a great ambition, his inoffensive patience and his ill-choosen garb alike made him the target for the buffoonery of his comrades and the merciless rigors of the frozen North.
Caught in a terrific blizzard, the icy clutches of the storm almost claim him when he stumbles into the cabin of Black Larsen, renegade. Larsen, unpityingly, is thrusting him from the door back into the arms of death when Fate, which preserves the destinies of its simple children, appears in the person of Big Jim McKay.
The renegade is subdued by McKay in a terrific battle, and the Lone Prospector and his rescuer occupy the cabin while their unwilling host is thrust forth to obtain food. Starvation almost claims the two until a bear intrudes and is killed to supply their larder.
The storm abated, the two depart for the nearest town, and McKay to his hidden mine, the richest in Alaska. McKay finds the renegade in possession of his property, and in the battle that ensues falls under a blow from a shovel wielded by Larsen, who flees from the scene to be swept to his death in an avalanche. McKay recovers consciousness but had lost his memory from the blow.
Lonely arrives in one of the mushroom cities of the gold trail. He becomes the principal amusement of the village, the bait for the practical jokers - and the provacation of gibes and hilarity from the dance hall habitués. His attention becomes centered on Georgia, queen of the dancehall entertainers, and at first sight becomes enamored with the girl.
In his timid and pathetic way, he adores at a distance and braves the gibes of the dancehall roughs to feast his lovelorn eyes. Every indignity is heaped upon him until as a last cruel jest, Jack Cameron, Beau Brummel of the camp, hands him an endearing note from Georgia. Believing it written for him, the unhappy lover starts feverishly searching the dancehall for the girl, when Big Jim McKay, his memory partially restored, enters.
Big Jim’s only thought is to find the location of the cabin in order to locate his lost mine. He recognizes Lonely and seizes him, shouting to lead the way to the cabin, and they both will be millionaires. But his lovelorn friend at this moment discovers the girl on the balcony, and breaking away, darts up to embrace her and declare his love to the astonishment of the girl, as well as the crowd.
Unceremoniously dragged from the hall by McKay, the lone Prospector shouts to Georgia that he soon will return to claim her, a millionaire.
A year has passed and Big Jim and his partner, Lonely, are returning to the States surrounded with all that wealth can provide. Yet the heart-yearnings of the lover will not be stilled. Georgia has disappeared and his search for her has been all in vain.
The fame of the strike of the partners has spread and newspapermen board the liner for interviews. Lonely goodnaturedly consents to don his old clothes for a new photograph. Tripping in the companionway, he falls down stairs into the arms of Georgia, on her way back to the States as a steerage passenger.
The reporters sense a romance and ask who the girl is. Lonely whispers to Georgia, who nods assent. Arm in arm, they pose for pictures, while the reporters enthusiastically exclaim: “What a Great Story this will make!”