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Growing up as the son of the owner of a great newspaper, James Alden sympathizes with working people and is particularly repulsed by the publicity given the "billion-dollar baby," Geraldine Keen. After starting in a settlement house, he quarrels with his father and leaves home. "Jerry" Keen drives through her father's mills and is horrified by the poverty there, but Brophy, her executor, refuses to improve conditions. Disguised in maid's clothes, Jerry is accosted by the bully Johnson as she views the conditions, but Alden rescues her. He shows her the settlement house and she begins to help in the evenings. The night before her twenty-first birthday, Brophy follows Jerry to the settlement house where Johnson rouses striking workers to attack him, but he is protected by Alden. On coming of age, Jerry agrees to the strikers' demands, then she and Alden become engaged, but he disappears after reading a newspaper account of her. Through Alden's father and Brophy, Jerry finds him, they reconcile and marry.