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In Old Chicago

In Old Chicago

In Old Chicago is a 1938 American drama disaster film directed by Henry King. The screenplay by Sonya Levien and Lamar Trotti was based on the Niven Busch story, "We the O'Learys". The film is a fictionalized account about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and stars Alice Brady as Mrs. O'Leary, the owner of the cow which started the fire, and Tyrone Power and Don Ameche as her sons. It also stars Alice Faye and Andy Devine. At the time of its release, it was one of the most expensive movies ever made.

Plot

The O'Leary family are traveling to Chicago to start a new life when Patrick O'Leary tries to race a steam train in his wagon. He is killed when his horses bolt. His wife Molly and their three boys are left to survive on their own. In town she agrees to prove her skills as a laundress when a woman's dress is accidentally spattered with mud. She quickly proves herself and builds a laundry business in an area known as "the Patch". Her sons are educated. One, Jack, becomes a reforming lawyer, but another, Dion, is involved in gambling. While washing a sheet, Mrs. O'Leary discovers a drawing, apparently created by Gil Warren, a devious local businessman. Her sons realize that it reveals that he has a plan to run a tramline along a street that he and his cronies intend to buy up cheaply.

Awards