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In Los Angeles, Johnny Ramirez, a poor Mexican, graduates from Pacific Night Law School, having worked days as a mechanic. Although Johnny is convinced that he will be a great lawyer, earning lots of money, his clients are all poor people from the neighborhood. When he loses his first court case against socialite Dale Elwell because he's poorly prepared, he angrily punches the opposing lawyer, Brook Manville, thinking he has been patronized and discriminated against. As a result, Johnny is disbarred. His dreams of being the Mexican-American Abe Lincoln shattered, Johnny leaves behind his adoring mother and hitchhikes to a border town in Mexico, determined to return as a rich man. He does very well, working his way into a partnership in a successful night club, whose owner, Charlie Roark, admires Johnny, as does his wife Marie. Thinking that her husband is all that stands between her and Johnny, Marie locks a drunken Charlie in the garage, leaving the car motor running. Johnny, in partnership with Marie, remodels the club into a stylish night club designed to attract the wealthy. One night Dale visits the club with some friends. She playfully starts a flirtation with Johnny, who, misunderstanding, falls in love with her. Sick with jealousy, Marie publicly accuses Johnny of murdering Charlie, but at his trial, she breaks down on the witness stand, having gone insane with guilt. Free at last, Johnny drives to Los Angeles to propose to Dale, who tells him their differences make any marriage impossible. To escape Johnny's anger, she runs into the street, where she is hit by a car. Once again, Johnny must reassess his life. He sells his club, endows a law school with the money, and returns to Los Angeles to live with his own people.