The feud between the McKay and the Canfield clans goes back to 1810, when John McKay is killed in a gun battle outside his humble cabin, as his wife and baby, Willie, huddle inside. To escape the Canfield's wrath, and save her son, the last McKay namesake, Mrs. McKay takes the boy to New York, where he grows up under his aunt's care, unaware of the terrible legacy. Twenty years later, Willie McKay, now heir to John McKay's Rockville estate, imagines a lovely southern plantation, all dressed up in magnolias. Ready to leave the big city for points south, Willie is told the truth by his aunt, who admonishes him to avoid the Canfield clan.
Boarding the Out of Town Limited, Willie shares the ride with Virginia, who is returning to her southern home. The unpredictable journey on the iron horse takes the passengers over logs, rocks, and bumps, stopping only to eject the occasional hobo, or to right a derailment. Arriving in Rockville, looking the worse for wear, Willie accepts an invitation to dinner from the young lady, who has taken a fancy to him. Willie innocently
seeks direction to his new estate from the young lady's brother, a Canfield, who has come to fetch her from the train. Informing his father and brother that there's a McKay back in town, they set out to exact their long-awaited revenge.
Meanwhile, Willie's dream of a palatial homestead is blown to bits, when the real house turns out to be a rundown shack. Disappointed, he goes fishing at a nearby stream unaware that he is being stalked and shot at by the Canfield brothers. Not wanting to be late for dinner, Willie goes to Virginia’s home and meets her family and a visiting parson. Although the men eye him suspiciously and agree not to kill him while he is under their roof, Willie and Virginia remain oblivious to the plan. Only when Willie overhears the brothers talking about killing him, does he realize that he is in grave danger. After dinner Willie is afraid to leave the house, so he stalls by showing the family some tricks, and then misplacing his hat. A sudden thunderstorm keeps both Willie and the parson there, as overnight guests.
The next day, Virginia is shocked by her father's intention to kill Willie, the last of the McKay's. Willie escapes from the house, but is chased to a very precarious cliff near the river. He grabs at a rope, hoping to be rescued, but on the other end is one of the Canfield brothers. Both tumble into the water, but Willie manages to scramble up the riverbank dodging bullets. By chance, the Out of Town Limited, on its way back to New York, runs over the rope, freeing Willie, who jumps on the train. A sudden derailment sends Willie crashing into the water again, as the rapids sweep him away. Watching from the river's edge, Virginia tries to save him, but her rowboat capsizes and she is also swept downstream.
Saving himself from a watery grave, Willie struggles to tie the rope onto a large log at the waterfall's edge. When the empty rowboat goes over the falls and smashes on the rocks below, Willie notices that Virginia is being carried in the same direction. He heroically swings like a pendulum through the cascading water to grab her as she drifts toward the edge, and deposits her on a rocky perch. The parson, riding by in his buggy, offers to take the exhausted couple back to the girl's home.
The disgruntled Canfield men return home to shockingly discover Willie and Virginia in a passionate embrace. Upon drawing their guns to shoot, the parson steps in and announces that the couple has just been married. Her father glances up at a plaque that says "Love Thy Neighbor" and decides it's finally time to end the feud by laying down their weapons. Willie obliges whole-heartedly by emptying an entire arsenal from his clothing. — Janice Agnello