Rags-to-riches Hennessey meets newlyweds Jessie and Eddie from his old neighborhood. Eddie plots to have Jessie divorce him, marry Hennessey, divorce Hennessey, then bring Hennessey's money into remarriage with Eddie. His plan goes awry at several points.
A hardworking factory girl (Joan Crawford) marries her childhood sweetheart (Alan Curtis) in a desperate attempt to leave her Hester Street tenement home behind her. Despite advances made by a wealthy shipping magnate (Spencer Tracy), Crawford refuses to leave her deadbeat husband — until he proposes a get-rich-quick scheme so reprehensible that she finds her love for him put to the test.