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While Francene Turner, a housewife-turned-writer, spends her day in the city selling her first novel to a movie studio, her son Seth introduces himself to the college fraternity he hopes to join, and her youngest daughter Peggy goes to see a movie with her boyfriend, Hal Jennings. At the same time, schoolteacher Jane Turner, Francene's eldest daughter, explains to longtime admirer Vance Patterson, a freelance writer and newspaper reporter, that she is marrying Walter Hamilton because, unlike Vance, he is safe and reliable. While Jane then confers with Walter, an auditor, about their wedding plans, her father Martin, the chief accountant at a local firm, is called in by William Barnes, the company president, to explain a $40,000 deficit in the company books. After assuring Barnes that the money will be accounted for, Martin confronts general manager R. S. Sawyer, about the missing funds, which Sawyer had appropriated with Martin's help on the pretext of using them as a loan to a struggling client. Sawyer confesses to Martin that the money actually was used for his own financial speculations, but promises to try to secure $40,000 before the next day's audit. Overcome with worry, Martin returns home and, while waiting for Sawyer's telephone call, promises Seth fifty dollars to pay his fraternity initiation fees, blesses Jane and Walter's engagement, and congratulates Francene on her movie deal. The next morning, after Sawyer has informed him that he was unable to get the money, Martin says goodbye to Peggy, who is taking the train for college that afternoon, and prepares all of his personal financial papers. At lunch, Francene confides in Martin that the Hollywood studio has offered her a six-week stint as a contract writer, and Martin encourages her to accept the job. Then, while Peggy abandons the train to drive to college with Hal, Walter, who is preparing Martin's audit, confronts him about the apparent embezzlement. Although Martin, who has since learned that Sawyer has left town, maintains his innocence, Walter suggests that he, too, leave town to avoid involving his family in scandal. Seemingly trapped, Martin returns home and, in his study, swallows an overdose of a powerful sinus medicine. At the same time, Peggy, who on a whim has gone with Hal to a country minister, finds a telling note from her father in her suitcase and rushes home without being married. Seth, meanwhile, learns that the fraternity rejected him and, while driving home, is blinded by his tears and crashes into a streetcar. The heavily drugged Martin is taken by the police to Seth's hospital room, where the unsuspecting Seth confesses to him that, for a moment, he had wanted to die. Moved by Seth's words, Martin struggles to stay awake but soon slips into unconsciousness. Eventually Francene and the rest of the family are informed of Martin's predicament and rescue him from death. Then, armed with information from Vance, Barnes arranges for Sawyer's apprehension at the Mexican border and fully vindicates Martin. After Jane breaks with Walter and embraces Vance, Seth announces that he has been nominated as class vice-president, and Martin sits down to dinner with his entire loving family.