The Butcher Boy

Released: April 23, 1917
Length: Two reels
Presented by: Comique Film Corporation
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Producer: Joseph M. Schenck
Director: Roscoe Arbuckle
Scenario: Roscoe Arbuckle
Story: Joe Roach
Editor: Herbert Warren
Photography: Frank D. Williams

Roscoe Arbuckle: Butcher
Buster Keaton: Customer
Al St. John: Store Clerk
Josephine Stevens: Girl
Arthur Earle: Proprietor, Girl’s Father
Agnes Neilson: Miss Teachem
Joe Bordeau: Accomplice
Luke the Dog: Store Assistant


In a general store, Arbuckle does knife tricks as he works as a butcher. St. John and Luke grind pepper with a dog-powered grinder. Miss Teachem, from the girls boarding school, comes in and order Arbuckle about; he glides around the store walls on a rolling ladder. Keaton arrives, pops a coin into his bucket, and asks for some molasses. Arbuckle fills it. Then Keaton tells him that the money is beneath the molasses, so he uses Keaton’s hat as a temporary molasses receptacle. Coin retrieved, Keaton puts his hat on and can’t get it off. Arbuckle pulls it away, but then Keaton’s shoe is stuck in a molasses puddle. After many tries, Arbuckle dissolves the sticky stuff with hot water, then loosens him with a kick. Keaton crashes into the proprietor, who tells him to get out.

Arbuckle and Stevens spoon, and she asks him about marriage. His rival, St. John, sees them kiss. A flour war commences. Keaton comes back, and hostilities escalate to pies. It’s a mess. The manager decides to send his daughter off to Miss Teachem’s boarding school.

At school, Stevens isn’t allowed to receive Arbuckle’s letter. She cries outside. Arbuckle, dressed as a schoolgirl, comes with Luke to rescue her. While Luke waits, Miss Teachem registers Arbuckle as Stevens’ cousin, Saccharine. St. John arrives with a similar plan; his helpers are Keaton and Bordeau. They wait in the cold while St. John, Arbuckle, and the girls go in to dinner. Despite his dress, St. John snorts while he slurps his soup, and Arbuckle’s manners aren’t much better. Later, Miss Teachem assigns Stevens, Arbuckle, and St. John to one room. Stevens leaves to put on her pajamas, and the fight begins. Miss Teachem intervenes and spanks Arbuckle. St. John calls in Keaton and Bordeau, and Luke joins them. They try to kidnap Stevens, but Luke keeps the three men from escaping. Miss Teachem catches them, and holding them at gunpoint, calls the police. Arbuckle and Stevens get out and find themselves by the Reverend Henry Smith’s house. They decide they might as well get married. — Lisle Foote