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Franz Pless, son of a Hungarian peasant, goes to New York to become an architect and while there meets Sari, Countess Thurzo, whom he knew as a child. A romance develops but is cut short as Sari must return to Hungary with her father. Franz follows her to Europe, but to his dismay he learns he must serve 3 years' compulsory military service; gaining leave to visit his grandfather, he quarrels with Baron von Heimberg, captain of his regiment, who makes him his orderly. In secret meetings Sari promises to wait for Franz, but her father announces at a formal banquet the engagement of his daughter and Heimberg without consulting her. Franz assaults the captain and is pursued by soldiers; Sari conceals him, but he is discovered and offered his freedom provided that he leave the country. Ilona, the captain's mistress, conceals herself in Sari's wedding gown while she meets Franz; Ilona then forces the captain to go through with the wedding.