Based on Tennyson's poem, Enoch Arden is the story of a man (Wilfred Lucas) who woos and weds Annie Lee (Linda Arvidson), winning her from his bitter rival Philip Ray (Francis J. Grandon). But fortunes turn. Arden, married and now with three children, is in financial difficulty. He sets sail to China in hopes of reversing his fortune. Annie, bereft that Enoch is leaving, gives him a locket with a curl from their baby's hair. As Annie says goodbye to Enoch on the beach, Philip watches. Could this be his chance?
Years pass, as Annie waits by the shore, hoping for Enoch's return, but his ship was destroyed in a tropical storm. Enoch and two others survive, washed up on a desert island. Meanwhile Philip presses his suit for Annie who, still waiting in vain for Enoch, rebuffs him. years pass. The children grow. Enoch, now graying with a long beard and wearing tatters, has outlived his two companions but is still wearing the locket that Annie gave him. Annie -- with all hope gone -- finally relents and marries Philip. But wait. What ho! A ship finally comes and rescues Enoch. He finally makes it home to find Annie married to his rival and with a new baby. Determined not to mar Annie's new-found happiness, Enoch wanders off. Enoch dies. Bummer.
Directed by D. W. Griffith, this 33-minute two-reeler was filmed by Billie Bitzer.
And, for the curious, here's Tennyson's poem: