Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
This is one of the most famous of the silent movie serials - short films that audiences went to see another chapter of every week or two. Pauline Marvin is a rich young heiress who decides she wants to spend a year having adventures before getting married to her fiance, Harry. Her guardian, Koerner, wants to kill her so he can get her money. He elists the help of his henchman Hicks and the two of them hatch some of the stupidest murder plots ever seen on screen - as silly as any of the attempted killings of James Bond. She escapes a burning building, an Indian sacrifice, a flooded basement, and a naval artillery bombing, and most of her adventures involve in some way her getting permission to ride various vehicles - a hot air balloon, a race car, a biplane, a submarine, an ocean-going boat, a small motor boat, even a horse in a steeplechase race. Then they try to sabotage her but she is always saved by someone, usually Harry. Shooting, stabbing, a hit on the head, poison, throwing her in front of a bus - none of these well-established methods for murder seem to occur to them.
In episode 8 "The Serpent in the Flowers" Koerner and Hicks pay some Gypsies to kidnap Pauline. Harry saves her with the help of a Gypsy woman who asks him not to injure her man, but the man is injured anyway. That angers the Gypsy woman who plots to get revenge on Pauline and Harry. She goes into the woods and catches a snake with a stick, then puts it into a wicker basket covered with flowers and gives it to Pauline's servant to give to her. Pauline opens it and leans in to smell the flowers when Harry sees the snake. He throws the basket across the room, releasing the snake. He throws a rug over the snake then picks it up by its tail and viciously whips it onto the floor a couple of times to kill it. It happens so fast that it is not possible to tell if the snake he picks up is dead or alive, but I'm sure it's an actual snake and not a fake one. It's possible he killed a real snake, and there certainly wasn't any American Humane Association monitoring of animals used in films in 1914, but I'd guess they killed the snake first.
Even as far back as 1914 any snake seen in a movie was thought to be poisonous, but the snake they used is a harmless one. The quality of the video is very poor but I am fairly certain that the snake used here is a gopher snake or bull snake. If so, it's not a snake native to the east coast where the serial was filmed (several locations around New York and New Jersey and possibly elsewhere.)