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Widow Mary Colbrook is rearing her four children, Gwen, Muriel, Reginald and the youngest, Bill, on her own. Because of bad investments, the family has run out of money, to the embarrassment of the three older children. In Bill's eyes, however, Mary can do no wrong. After the piano is repossessed, Mary visits banker John Rudlin, an old friend and he gives her the money to pay her debts. While playing football, Bill meets the widowed Mrs. Adelaide Crosby. When she has a heart attack during a quarrel, Bill gets her medicine and helps her to a chair. Afterward, the old woman and the young boy become friends. Aunt Caroline, their father's sister, deeply disapproves of Mary, suspecting falsely that Bill is not her brother's son. She invites the three oldest, the ones she calls "true Colbrooks," to live with her, and over Mary's protests, they agree. Only Bill remains with his mother. In order to earn some money to help Mary, Bill borrows three dollars from Rudlin to open a newsstand. Meanwhile, Caroline is very strict with the children. She refuses to let Muriel associate with her fiancé, Lynn Willard, because he does not come from an upper class family, and also orders them to stay away from Bill and their mother. Then Caroline takes the lease on their old house and evicts Bill and Mary. When Mary is unable to find a job, she plans to move to New York. Bill visits Mrs. Crosby to say goodbye and discovers that she has been sick. He brings Mary to care for Mrs. Crosby, who invites them to live with her. After Mrs. Crosby dies, she leaves everything, including the house she lives in and the house Caroline rents, to Bill. The other children finally realize they have been unfair to their mother and write her a letter of apology on Mother's Day. She gladly takes them back and when Caroline returns from a trip, she finds the family reunited in their old home. Rudlin, who is visiting, explains to the children that their father made Mary's life miserable after he discovered that Rudlin and Mary had been in love when they were young. Mary adds that she had married for money but now is planning to rectify her mistake by marrying Rudlin, whom she still loves.