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Ellie May Adams, the daughter of a prostitute mother and a drunken, weak-willed father, struggles desperately to retain her respectability amid the squalor of Primrose Hill. One day, while digging for clams on the beach, she meets hash slinger Ed Wallace and falls in love. That night, Ellie May seeks Ed out and tells him that her family has thrown her out of the house because of her love for him. When she threatens suicide, Ed agrees to marry her. Ed is unaware of the unsavory reputation of his wife's family until she takes him home and is confronted by her viperish grandmother, unruly sister, prostitute mother and drunken father. The shock is so great that Ed leaves Ellie May, and when she begs for understanding, he accuses her of lying to him. Dejectedly returning home, Ellie May finds that her father has accidentally shot her mother. After her mother's death, Ellie May is saddled with the burden of supporting her family, and just when it seems as if she will be forced to tread the same path as her mother, her mother's ex-lover reunites Ellie May with Ed, who then takes over the responsibility of the family.