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Together with his friend, "Skipper" Martin, Robert "Dreamy" Smith plans to buy a sailboat and sail around the world, but every time they are about to achieve their goal, something exhausts Dreamy's part of the stake. Although timid Dreamy fantasizes about performing a heroic deed, he also wants to marry Mary Clover, who works with him at the newspaper where he sells advertisements. One evening, when Mary and Dreamy are on the way to the movies, fire engines race by and Dreamy drags Mary after them. He sees fireman Michael O'Connor trapped in the flames and rushes in to save him, but ends up in need of rescue himself. The heroic fireman gives Dreamy an idea, however. Dreamy suggests to John Wade, his boss, that the paper honor a hero every month as a promotional gimmick. Wade takes credit for the idea and silences Dreamy's objections by giving him a promotion--but no extra pay. Then, jealous over the attention that Richard Amesworth, the son of the paper's owner, pays to Mary, Dreamy proposes marriage and Mary happily accepts. Dreamy's marriage plans infuriate Skipper, who realizes that their dream of buying a boat will be postponed. Later, when "Limpy" Barnes, the crippled newsboy, is hit by a car, Dreamy has another promotional idea, and once again, Wade takes the credit. Meanwhile, Dreamy quietly donates all his extra money toward Limpy's hospital bills. Limpy's family is evicted when they fall behind in their rent, and generous Dreamy invites them to live with him and Skipper. This is too much for Skipper, and after chastising Dreamy, Skipper moves out. Now Dreamy begins saving all his money to pay for an operation that will fix Limpy's legs. While pawning some of his possessions, Dreamy sees O'Connor pawning his award. This gives Dreamy another idea, which he tells to Wade, who takes credit for the third time. When the newspaper passes out Christmas bonuses, Dreamy does not get one, and worse, it is revealed that Dreamy kept some of the "help wanted" ads out of the paper so that his friends would be the only applicants for the jobs. Wade does not defend him, and Dreamy finally realizes he has been taken advantage of. After having a couple of drinks, Dreamy finds the courage to confront Wade. Dreamy is fired, but Mary intervenes and convinces Wade to rehire him. When she brings Wade to the bar where Dreamy is drinking with Skipper and O'Connor, Dreamy's friends push Wade into the sea. Although he cannot swim, Dreamy jumps into the water and Wade must rescue him. At the subsequent award dinner, however, a surprised Dreamy is honored with the valor award for his quiet courage and sacrifices. In his acceptance speech, Dreamy says he is only one of many heroes--people who just go on doing the best they know how. Later, Dreamy is drafted, and thus adventure will be his at last.