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This Sporting Age

This Sporting Age(1932)

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Army captain John Steele is a solid widower approaching middle age who has a penchant for drinking and admiring ladies. He is admired by his men for his tolerant manner, yet he does not hesitate to administer a good thrashing to one young soldier who mistreats a horse. Steele is the regional polo champion at a Western army post, where he and his beloved daughter Mickey lead a light-hearted life. During a visit, Johnny Raeburn of the fashionable Seabrook Polo Club of Long Island tries to recruit Steele for America's team in a forthcoming international competition. An accident during Johnny's trip begins a romance between himself and Mickey, so Steele decides to accept Johnny's offer for his daughter's sake. Mickey gratefully buys her father a famous polo pony, which he trains to be his best horse. After arriving in Long Island, Steele, Mickey and Johnny attend a reception given at Seabrook in honor of the visiting team. Steele's horse becomes ill, however, and Johnny leaves without explaining to Mickey. While Steele is being charmed by Rita Duncan, a wealthy young widow, Mickey drowns her sorrows in liquor and the attentions of Charles Morrell, a seductive member of the rival team. The naive, drunken girl is compromised by Morrell, and it appears that Morrell and Rita are part of a conspiracy to unnerve Steele and thereby enable the other team to win. Mickey, realizing her affair with Morrell was foolish, feels unworthy of her father and Johnny. She attempts suicide, and Steele learns of what has happened. When the game begins, Steele prefers to stay at his daughter's bedside rather than play, and the visiting team takes the lead. Steele is reassured that Mickey will live, and when she pleads with him to play, he finally enters the game. Driven to win and to avenge his daughter's betrayal, Steele plays ferociously, especially against Morrell. The score is soon tied, but Steele's determination still prevails over his common sense, and he calls for his favorite mount, despite the pony's weakened condition. Steele takes after Morrell, and in the resulting spill, Morrell is killed and Steele's horse suffers a broken leg. The animal is shot, and the dejected Steele and Mickey prepare to return home. Although Mickey tells Johnny that she cannot marry him, he vows to follow her until she changes her mind. Back at the post, Steele is presiding over a military review when Johnny arrives and finally convinces Mickey to marry him.