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After 10 years of service as a mining engineer in Chile, Roger Slade sets sail for Carmel, California, with his wife Leah, and their 17-year-old daughter, Susan. En route, the naive and virginal Susan has an affair with Conn White, a wealthy mountain-climber. Once in Carmel, Susan meets Wells Corbett, the son of her father's employer, and Hoyt Brecker, an aspiring author. Hoyt is embittered by the suicide of his father, who had been convicted of embezzling $10,000 from the Corbett company. On the day of her parents' housewarming party, Susan learns that she is pregnant and sends a frantic wire to Conn. When word arrives that he has been killed while attempting to scale Mount McKinley, the hysterical Susan attempts suicide, but Hoyt rescues her. Susan then informs her parents of her pregnancy, and it is decided that Mr. Slade will take a post in Guatemala and that Mrs. Slade will pretend to be the child's mother. Following the birth of the baby, Mr. Slade dies of a heart attack; and Susan, her mother, and the baby return to Carmel. Tortured by frustration and her own deceit, Susan rejects the marriage proposals of both Hoyt and Wells. A short time later the baby is severely burned in an accident, and Susan breaks down and confesses that she is the child's mother. Stunned by the news, Wells withdraws his offer of marriage. However, when Susan returns home with her baby, Hoyt, who has just sold his first novel, is waiting for her.