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Curtis Jaffray's mother, an Italian peasant, must steal to support herself, but genetic tendencies as well as economic necessity contribute to her penchant for robbery, as it is inherited by her son. After John, his British nobleman father, catches him stealing, Curtis runs away, but rather than try to change his nature, he decides to put his mother's legacy to good use. As a result, after he has risen to a prominent position in the United States, he starts stealing from those who belong to his own wealthy social set and then distributing the money among the poor. Even though they can afford it, however, this sort of forced philanthropy terrifies Curtis' friends, and so they enlist the aid of the police, who finally manage to corner the criminal and kill him.