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Bonnie Jordan, formerly a spoiled, carefree socialite, is faced with poverty or hard work when her father, Stanley Jordan, dies of a heart attack during the stock market crash of 1929. Though she in in love with Robert "Bob" Townsend, she refuses his proposal of marriage, because he offers it merely as "the gentlemanly thing to do." Instead, she goes to work as a cub reporter on the New York Star . Her brother Rodney takes an easier way out by helping bootlegger Jake Luva peddle his liquor to Rodney's wealthy friends. Bonnie grows to love her work and is befriended by Bert Scranton, the Star 's top reporter. When a group of bootleggers are murdered, both Bert and Bonnie are assigned different aspects of the case. While investigating the crime, Bert unwittingly encounters Rodney, who, realizing that Luva is responsible for the murders, lets information about his gang slip out. When Luva hears about it, he tells Rodney that the only way out is to shoot Bert or be shot himself. Though he doesn't want to do it, his own fear leads him to kill Bert. Bonnie, who doesn't know about Rodney's connection to Luva, is then assigned by her editor to infiltrate Luva's gang and find out who actually did the murder, as all of his gang have airtight alibis. She gets a job as a dancer in Luva's nightclub, posing as "Mary Smith" from Kansas City, and although both Rodney and Bob see her at the club, Luva doesn't know her real identity. One evening Luva invites her to his apartment to seduce her. She goes along with him, hoping to get her story, but when she answers his phone and hears Rodney's voice, she realizes the extent of her brother's involvement and tries to leave. When Rodney arrives, the three argue and Rodney kills Luva, but is killed himself, trying to protect Bonnie. Bonnie then phones in the real story to the Star . The next day her boss and others at the paper try to discourage her from leaving, but she feels that she must. As she walks out, Bob finds her and proposes again, this time for real, and as they kiss, some of her friends on the paper capture the moment for the announcement of their marriage on the society pages.