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Films >> Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) >>

0:00:00 Credits
Shots of the frontier, with covered wagons and the wilderness.
0:01:04 Starting with Shakespeare
"1831": Abe is sitting with his father Thomas and his stepmother while they fret over the rain. Abe is reading Shakespeare, and his father expresses his disapproval, while his stepmother comes to his aid. Two cousins enter through the front door to collect Abe to go with them to Springfield to work transporting hogs to New Orleans. Thomas encourages Abe because he will make twenty dollars an hour, a large sum. Abe and his stepmother share a warm goodbye.
0:03:45 Hog Wild
Abe is on a raft with his boss and the hogs, when they come across a mill waterfall at the small town of New Salem, Illinois. They cannot avoid the drop, so they go over it and the hogs get loose. While chasing one of the hogs, Abe meets Ann Rutledge. When they are back on the raft, the boss says he is going to open a shop in New Salem and asks if Abe would like to work for him. Abe accepts.
0:07:35 New Beginnings
Abe enters New Salem, while his carriage driver is betting his boss will not show up. A man named Ben who claims to have fought in the Revolutionary War is giving a speech in the town, and people are poking fun at him. Abe learns it is Election Day and the man is running for public office.
0:09:35 New Champion in Town
Abe sees Jack Armstrong and his gang. Armstrong and his friends are trying to get liquor from Ann, who it turns out is the innkeeper's daughter. Her fiancé John McNeil, tries to stop them, but he cannot. Ann pleads for help from the townspeople, but no one wants to fight Armstrong. Abe declines as well, until Armstrong starts harassing Ann herself. Abe fights Armstrong and wins, earning the admiration of both Armstrong and the townspeople, leading them to declare Abe the new wrestling champion.
0:15:11 Abe’s First Oath of Office
Abe meets Joshua Speed, a leading citizen in New Salem. He convinces Abe to count votes at the voting booth since he can keep the crowds under control. Abe reluctantly agrees, and he is sworn in.
0:16:22 Shop Keeper and Student
Abe is in the shop selling gloves to a man when his boss enters. He tells Abe he is leaving and giving the shop to him, but Abe knows that means he is now saddled with his boss's debt, totaling $1500. A man he calls Mentor enters and begins a lesson with Abe, in which he proves himself a good student. However, Ann distracts him outside the window. Abe tells his mentor he does not want to accept the job of postmaster because that will lead to political office, which Abe does not want. He doesn't want to move to the city, as it scares him.
0:21:05 John Leaves
Ann and John are talking about him leaving for New York State. Ann doesn't want him to go, and he promises he will come back and they will be happy forever. He gives her a necklace as a token of his love to her. They say a fond farewell.
0:22:08 Oh Captain
A man shows Abe a newspaper calling up volunteers to fight in a war with the Blackhawk Indians. Abe tells the man he does not want to go, but they hear a crowd yelling. The crowd tells them they have all signed up for the war and elected Abe to be their Captain. Abe has no choice but to enlist.
0:22:43 My Captain
Abe is leading his regiment in a marching exercise. The town is looking on and Ann is admiring Abe. Abe forgets a command on how to get his men through a gate, so he halts them and tells them to reconvene on the other side of the gate. Everyone laughs at Abe as ducks pass through the gate.
0:24:06 Postmaster
"1835": A newspaper comes to Abe, who is now the postmaster, announcing that South Carolina is threatening to withdraw from the Union. A man comes in and receives a letter, but Abe lets him slide on the fare. Ann comes in to the office, and she has received a letter from John in New York. Abe lets her slide on the fare as well. Outside the office, women give Ann a hard time for waiting for John, and she gets upset.
0:26:30 Homely Abe
An old woman teases Abe, calling him "homely," but Abe just makes a joke about it. Old Ben comes into the office and tells Abe that Joshua Speed would like to see him, someone is asking for him.
0:27:11 A Proposition
At the home of Joshua Speed, Abe meets Ninian Edwards. The men want him to run for a seat on the state legislature for their party, the Whigs. Abe considers the position for the money and the educational opportunities it would provide, but Ben is worried that politics will corrupt honest Abe. Abe shares Ben's concern and asks if he can think it over. As Abe leaves, he sees Ann walking alone and upset.
0:29:35 A Declaration
Abe approaches Ann, who is crying over her letter. Abe asks if he can help, and she tells him she doesn't think John will ever return from New York. Abe confesses his love to Ann and asks her to spend more time with him. She says that she does like him, but of love she is not sure, but she will consider seeing him more.
0:34:06 First Campaign
Abe is at a dance for his campaign for State Legislature. Abe isn't dancing but indeed watching as Ann enjoys herself on the dance floor. All of a sudden, Ann faints, and the doctor is able to revive her. Abe gets her water and helps her up, while the doctor and her uncle discuss her health. Abe sees Ann's carriage off, and she encourages him to keep campaigning and not worry about her health.
0:38:07 Honest Abe
On Election Day, under a sign that reads "Vote for Honest Abe," Abe gives a speech to a crowd about to vote. As the townspeople vote, Jack Armstrong tells Abe that Ann has "brain fever" and that they don't expect her to recover.
0:39:45 Love Lost
Abe enters Ann's house as everyone is praying for her. The doctor leaves her room and shakes his head. Abe enters Ann's bedroom, and she calls him closer. He professes his love to her, and she is glad that he has returned. Ann seems confused and thinks that Abe is John, and she dies with John's necklace in her hand.
0:41:38 First Win
Abe wins the election 205 votes to 3, and the town is rejoicing. Abe is full of sadness as Jack and friends take a wagon to pick Abe up at Judge Bowling Green's house to take him to Springfield.
0:43:25 Leaving the Legislature
At the legislature, the men debate the hanging by mob of the abolitionist Lovejoy. Stephen Douglas shows support for the mob, saying Lovejoy deserved what he got. Abe agrees that Lovejoy deserved punishment, but he thinks the courts, not mobs of angry rioters, should have taken it. Abe announces he is leaving the legislature and moving to Springfield to pursue law.
0:44:40 A New Start
"Stuart and Lincoln Counselors at Law": In Springfield, Abe is a lawyer, and he is teaching a clerk named Billy Hernan. Billy returns from the saloon, and Abe cautions him on his behavior. Billy invites him to a party at the home of Ninian Green, in order to meet Green's sister in law, Mary Todd.
0:46:35 Mary
At the Green's party, Mary Todd meets Stephen Douglas. Abe enters and bumps into the chandelier because he is so tall, and it breaks the ice between him and Mary. Douglas continues talking to Mary, and Mrs. Edwards tells Douglas her sister wants to marry the future President of the United States. Douglas says that he is her man, but Mary walks off to find Abe, who is entertaining a group of men. Abe stops speaking and they walk off together. Inside, Mrs. Edwards worries Abe is not good enough for Mary, but, outside, their relationship is developing as Abe opens up about his dead mother to Mary.
0:51:22 Electorate
Judge Bowling Green enters Abe's office, and Abe tells him he hopes to win a seat on the Electoral College. Although Bowling and Billy encourage Abe to run for office because he is perfect to do it and the wrongs of slavery must be stopped, Abe says that he does not want to get into politics. When he sees Mary outside, he excuses himself from the two men.
0:53:57 He is Not Good Enough
At the Edwards home, Mrs. Edwards and Mary are arguing over Abe. Mary wants to marry Abe, because she thinks he has potential and she can push him to meet it, and because she claims she doesn't care about luxuries. Mrs. Edwards insists Abe is not good enough for Mary and that he is backwoods and ordinary. Ninian asks if Abe wants to marry Mary, and she says he will ask her that night. The servant announces Abe and Ninian and his wife leave Mary and Abe alone.
0:57:41 Engaged
It is New Years and Ninian and Billy are in a saloon, toasting the engagement of Abe and Mary. Ninian insists that Abe is supposed to be in politics, and that Mary will push him to meet this goal.
0:58: 55 Dear John Letter
Billy comes in to find Bowling and Abe in the office. Abe asks Billy to deliver a letter to Mary calling off their engagement, but Bowling will not let him. Abe does not want to be pushed around or bullied into politics by Mary, and he wants to break off their engagement because he knows he will be. Billy insists that politics is Abe's destiny and he should stay with her to help him reach that goal, since Abe himself abhors slavery. Abe disagrees, but Bowling convinces him to at least tell Mary to her face. Abe leaves to see Mary.
1:02:55 Season Change
Winter turns to spring in New Salem, and Billy receives a letter from Abe saying he will stop in New Salem on his way back to Springfield.
1:03:40 New Salem
Abe reaches New Salem to find that it is deserted. He imagines Ann walking and returns to the spot he professed his love to her. There he hears the voice of his stepmother, encouraging him to do the right thing.
1:05:24 Return to the Edwards
Abe returns to Springfield and he goes to the Edwards home to see Mary. He apologizes for breaking off their engagement and for humiliating her. She forgives him and once again agrees to marry him. She declares her love for him and they embrace.
1:08:14 Married
"November 4, 1842. Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln."
1:08:20 Growth
"And then--years that marked the growth of a man and the growth of a nation."
1:08:55 Politics
It is some years later and Lincoln is in the Legislature. Newspapers flash on the screen announcing such events as North and South Issues, The Dredd Scott Case, Race Riots in Kansas, and the John Brown Rebellion in Virginia.
1:10:05 Harpers Ferry
Robert E. Lee arrests John Brown as his son dies in his arms. Brown is played by director John Cromwell.
1:11:44 An Opponent
Douglas is talking about anti-slave fanatics and how they should mind their business. Someone comes in to tell him Lincoln will be his opponent for the Senate. The man says it is good because Lincoln doesn't have a position on slavery and no one wants to bother with that issue. Douglas is concerned, as he knows Lincoln to be a worthy adversary.
1:12:49 Family Portrait
Abe and Mary are taking a family portrait with their three sons, Robert, Ted, and Willy. Mary keeps scolding Ted for moving, but Abe is tickling him. The boys run out of the photo to see the parade going on outside for Douglas as he rolls in on a train. Abe sees the newspaper article about their debate.
1:14:22 A Great Debate
Abe and Douglas are debating in front of a large crowd. Douglas tries to divert attention away from the slavery issue by drawing attention to the strikes in the north. He warns people not to be fooled by Abe's sincere demeanor, as he is actually striking with daggers. Douglas refutes the Constitution and supports the Dredd Scott Case, thereby saying not everyone is equal and supporting slavery. He wants to keep things separated into free states and slave states. The crowd cheers. 1:20:00 Lincoln takes the stage for his rebuttal. He refutes the Dredd Scott case, claims to support the constitution, and makes of fun of Douglas. He says that everyone should be equal In that they shouldn't be anyone's property. He talks about the strikes of the North by saying that he is glad to live in a country where people have the privilege to strike. He makes the famous quote "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The crowd erupts into cheers.
1:25:36 A Candidate
News of Abe's speech reaches across the nation. The newspapers report that Lincoln is a candidate for president. Men in the party debate who should be the nominee for President. A man says that it should be Lincoln, because he is popular in the West.
1:27:11 The Delegation
Joshua Speed comes to tell Abe that a delegation is arriving to see if he would be a good candidate for the Presidency. Mary scolds Abe for not giving her more notice and bullies him into changing. She goes off to the kitchen to prepare refreshments and chats with the possibility of nomination with the maid. Joshua leaves as the Delegation arrives. The delegation asks Abe about his religious beliefs, which he explains to be more morally rooted than spiritually rooted. They argue while Abe is out of the room but decide on him since they think they will be able to get Abe to do what they want him to do.
1:33:52 Election Day
While Abe, Mary and their friends wait for the results of the election, a large crowd has gathered outside. Abe reads a newspaper making fun of him but doesn't seem to be worried about the results. Meanwhile, Mary is very nervous; Abe suggests she go home and relax. She starts yelling at Abe that he hates her and that he wants to be rid of her, and yells at the other men as well. They leave the room, and Abe scolds Mary never to embarrass him in public that way again. She goes to leave and tells him that he has ruined her dreams.
1:39:19 Winner
Abe enters the room where all the men have gone. He sees his eldest son Robert and sends him home to look after Mary. The men say that Lincoln has been guaranteed to win the election, but Abe complains that it was a corrupt campaign and he will now be forced to fulfill empty pledges. Abe leaves, and a man asks Abe's friends if he wants to win. They say no, and Billy explains that if Lincoln wins that the South will succeed from the Union. The New York Herald announces that Abe has won the election, but he refuses to make a speech and instead opts to just go home. A Captain in the Army arrives to protect Abe, despite his protests, because there are already threats on his life.
1:42:44 A Beard
We see Abe getting ready to go to Washington. He is beginning to grow a beard.
1:43:09 Inauguration Day
Abe and Mary follow a parade in their honor to the train. Douglas comes to see them off and offer his support to Abe. As Lincoln boards the train, the people demand a speech. When the guards try to hold back the crowd, he tells them to let the people through. As the people crowd the car, Lincoln thanks them for their support and says farewell. He talks about his belief in democracy and union, and hopes for prosperity. As the train pulls away, a band plays "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" as Abe stands at the back of the train looking back towards Springfield.