71. The Pilgrim (1923)

First National 1918-23

Film still for The Pilgrim


Charlie, an escaped convict, steals a suit of clothes from a man who has gone bathing. Once dressed he realises they are the clothes of a clergyman. As he tries to escape he is detained by a runaway couple who want him to perform a hasty marriage ceremony but Charlie makes a run for it when he sees an angry father heading his way. At the station Charlie tries to select a destination by sticking a pin in the map. The first time he gets Sing Sing, and the second time he jabs the pin into a passer-by. Finally he points to Dallas, Texas. He buys a ticket and takes up his accustomed position under the train carriage. He is politely shown to a seat inside. The train reaches a town called 'Devil's Gulch' where a reception committee has gathered to welcome their new minister just as Charlie notices that his neighbour is reading the newspaper with his mug-shot and a reward offered for his capture. When he sees the man's sheriff's badge he disembarks straight into the arms of another sheriff. Instead of arresting him however, Charlie is greeted as the Reverend Pim and carried off by the congregation to the church. Charlie bluffs his way through the service unsure whether to sit or stand, he has to be prompted to pass around the collection box and nearly lights up a cigarette before he remembers his surroundings. He is shunted forward to deliver the sermon and after a moment's hesitation mimes the story of David and Goliath. Responding to the enthusiastic applause of a young boy he takes a curtain call and passes the collection box round again. The deacon entrusts Charlie with the collection and introduces him to Mrs Brown and her daughter Edna with whom he will lodge. On their way past a saloon Charlie sees a couple of old lags, Nitro Nick and Picking Pete. He pretends not to recognise them.

At the house several visitors arrive for tea with the new minister, including a couple with an obnoxious boy who punches Charlie in the face and then hits his father. He jabs a knitting needle into Charlie's leg and throws the goldfish bowl water around. His mother fails to pacify him and Charlie smiles at her while giving the kid a swift kick. He goes into the kitchen to help Miss Brown who is baking and the boy covers her dome shaped cake with his father's bowler hat. Charlie, not noticing, decorates the cake with custard. As the deacon arrives the couple and child attempt to leave but the father can't find his hat and won't leave without it. The hat is eventually discovered when Charlie tries to cut the cake. That evening Charlie's prison mate arrives at the house pretending to be an old college chum and invites himself in. He lifts the deacon's wallet and Charlie has to keep stealing it back and replacing it. At one point he pretends he is doing a magic trick to make the wallet appear and disappear. Mrs Brown wants to give the deacon her mortgage payment but as it is the Sabbath he asks her to keep it until the next day. The thief - spotting this opportunity for easy money - wangles an invitation to stay the night and Charlie is obliged to watch him. However, the thief knocks him out, steals the money, and makes off for the saloon. When he comes to, Charlie follows the thief to town and converts his clerical garb into something approximating a desperado's outfit. He retrieves the money as the saloon is held up by gunmen. The sheriff spots Charlie and pursues him back to the Brown's house. Charlie returns the money but the Sheriff says he must return to jail. He takes Charlie to the Mexican border and asks him to pick some flowers that are just over the line. Charlie doesn't get it and the Sheriff has to kick him over to the Mexican side. Charlie finally gets it as bandits arrive from the other side and he runs off with one leg on each side of the border.


Charles Chaplin (Escaped Convict)
Edna Purviance (Girl)
Kitty Bradbury (Her Mother, Charlie's Landlady)
Mack Swain (Deacon)
Loyal Underwood (Elder)
Charles Riesner (Thief)
Dinky Dean (Riesner) (Horrid Child)
Sydney Chaplin (His Father)
May Wells (His Mother)
Henry Bergman (Sheriff on Train)
Tom Murray (Local Sheriff)
Monta Bell (Policeman)
Raymond Lee (Boy in Congregation)
Frank Antunez (Bandit)
Joe Van Meter (Bandit)
Phyllis Allen (Member of Congregation)
Florence Latimer (Member of Congregation)
Edith Bostwick Member of Congregation)
Laddie Earle (Member of Congregation)
Louis Troester (Member of Congregation)
Beth Nagel (Member of Congregation)
Mrs C. Johnson (Member of Congregation)
Marion Davies (Member of Congregation)
Miss Evans
Frank Liscomb
S. D. Wilcox
Robert Traughbur
Carlyle Robinson
Jack McCredie
Charles Hafler
Bill Carey
Paul Mason
Sarah Barrows, Donnabelle Ouster, Gallie Frey, Della Glowner, Theresa Gray, Cecile Harcourt, Anna Hicks, Martha Harris, Mary Hamlett, Ethel Kennedy, Emily Lamont, Agnes Lynch, Mildred Pitts, Katherine Parrish, Edna Rowe, Mabel Shoulters, Georgia Sherrart, Rose Wheeler, George Bradford, George Carruthers, J. Espan, F. F. Guenste, Lee Glowner, Harry Hicks, Carl Jensen, Tom Ray, James J. Smith, S. H. Williams, Paul Wilkins, H. Wolfinger (Extras in Church Scene)
Production started:
1 April 1922
Production finished:
15 July 1922
26 February 1923, Strand Theatre, New York.
3647 ft.