Adapted from an 1905 melodramatic play which ran for 222 performances, but the book is best viewed as a cliche novel.
Captain James Wynnegate is cousin to Henry, the heir to an estate and title in late 19th century England. Of course, it is James who is a true hero and Henry who is the cad. James and Henry are involved in a love triangle with Diana, who becomes, unfortunately, Henry's wife. Henry has a weak character and has money problems, so, of course, he commits fraud. James follows a suggestion from Henry' mother and takes the blame for the fraud and leaves England. This "taking the blame" was much better done in "Beau Geste."
James changes his name and disappears into the American West. Of course, 'character' will tell and James becomes a hero to the locals. Saved by an Indian maid several times, James and she marry and produce a son. Henry and Diana discover James on a trip they make to the West.
Years later a heir is needed for the title. Guess who they decide on? It goes downhill from there.
The devoted Indian maid's only purpose was to produce the son. She and the rest of the Indians have no rights, and, apparently, no 'breeding' or status. Makes you wonder why James is presented as being of "fine character." But that's the Victorian Brits for you, Imperialists to the max. If you're not English, you're not worth ....
Still, it was an interesting read, if taken in its historical context. But great literature it wasn't.
Apparently, the 1914 movie changed the timing of events around somewhat to make it appear James wasn't such a wimpy cad regarding his son. I'd like to see that movie.