The Last Volunteer (1914) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • While traveling incognito through his kingdom, Prince Ludwig of Saxe-Tholberg becomes infatuated with Katrina, the daughter of innkeeper Hermann Ardelheim, but their idyll is interrupted by the arrival of a courier bearing the news that Austrania has threatened war. Katrina is heartbroken to discover the identity of her sweetheart whom she can never hope to marry. After Ludwig's departure, Katrina overhears the plotting of two spies and with the help of her brother Raolf, she confronts them. In the ensuing struggle, Katrina kills one of them, who turns out to be the Austranian ambassador. Although Katrina admits her crime, Marshal von Trump plans to execute Raolf in order to pacify the Austranians. Katrina appeals to Ludwig, who pardons Raolf over the advice of his counselors causing Austrania to declare war. A crucial battle is fought near the Ardelheim inn, during which Katrina becomes a heroine by signaling the advance of Ludwig's troops. She is fatally wounded by the Austranians and is then brought to the inn where she dies with Ludwig at her side. He then eulogizes both Katrina and Raolf, who has also died in battle.

  • Prince Ludwig of Saxe-Tholberg, a young man who is tired of the pomp and show of the court, decides to get away from it all for a while. He leaves the palace dressed as a hunter and goes to a far corner of the Principality. There he meets Katrina, the daughter of an innkeeper. Katrina is so winning and wholesome, just the kind of girl that the Prince has not been used to, that he asks if he can secure a room at the inn. He is accommodated and finds that the more he sees of Katrina the more he hates to leave and go back to the old life. Finally the court becomes impatient at the absence of the Prince and sends couriers to find him and persuade him to return. Katrina's brother has taken the Prince to task on account of his interest in Katrina and hot words pass. Raolf attacks the Prince, not knowing who he is. While the struggle is taking place Von Tromp enters and Raolf is astounded to learn that they have had the Prince as their guest. The diplomatic relations between Saxe-Tholberg and Austrania have been strained owing to some trouble over the boundary, and war is imminent. The Ambassador of Austrania, anxious to secure the plans of Saxe-Tholberg, corrupts one of the officers of the Saxe-Tholberg army and meets him at the inn kept by Katrina's father. Their conversation there is overheard by Katrina and her brother, who enter the room and accuse the officer of being false to his country. The Austranian Ambassador attacks Raolf. Katrina secures a weapon and accidentally shoots the Ambassador. Two officers who have accompanied the Ambassador enter. They seize Raolf and accuse him of the crime. Raolf is arrested and condemned to death in spite of the protests of Katrina, who tells the court that she did the shooting, and of the plot which they discovered. The Saxe-Tholberg officer, however, had escaped and taken the papers with him, so there was no proof of Katrina's story and the sentence of death is ordered to be carried out. Katrina makes a last appeal to the Prince, who pardons Raolf. The Austranian Nation demand satisfaction, but not being able to get it, declare war. In the ensuing war the forces of Saxe-Tholberg are not very successful in a crucial battle the leader of the Saxe-Tholberg forces is wounded and the flag is shot from the flag pole. Becoming demoralized, the Sax-Tholberg army is about to retreat when the Prince calls for a volunteer to raise the flag. The pole is on a small hill which is swept by the fire of the enemy, and it means almost sure death for one who makes the attempt. Raolf starts out but is killed before he attains his object. Several others make the attempt but are not successful. Finally Katrina offers herself and in spite of the protests of the officers and of the Prince, rushes from the house toward the standard. The very boldness of the attempt being made by a woman ensures its success, and the wavering forces of Saxe-Tholberg rally and drive the enemy back. Katrina's reward is that which falls to the lot of many patriots who offer their life for their country's good.


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