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As sailors Gunny Saks and Ted Barker prepare to return to New York after a four-year voyage, Gunny's wife Jenny puts their daughter Sally to bed. Jenny wonders if she really loves Gunny, whom she hastily married after being his partner in a marathon dance contest, and hasn't seen him since shortly after their wedding. Because Gunny does not know about Sally, Jenny plans to keep her existence secret until she is sure about him. Jenny, who manages the New York Lonely Hearts Club, has just befriended Nora Paige, a terrific dancer from a small town who yearns to star on the Broadway stage. When Gunny arrives at the club to see Jenny, Nora meets Ted, and the two fall in love. The next day, Lucy James, a Broadway musical comedy star, goes to the sailors' ship for publicity and Ted rescues her pet pekinese after the dog falls into the water. James McKay, Lucy's press agent, thinks that Lucy can get some great publicity for her new show out of the incident and convinces Lucy to ask Ted out to thank him. Ted reluctantly agrees to go to dinner with Lucy, partially to be polite, and partially to pay back McKay for getting Nora a job as Lucy's understudy. When the date is written up in a newspaper column, however, Nora is hurt and thinks that Ted does not love her any longer. Because his hitch is up, Ted decides to leave the navy to be with Nora, but she refuses to see him. Meanwhile, McKay thinks that Lucy would get even more publicity if she announced her engagement to Ted. Lucy has now started to fall in love with Ted, however, and does not want to use him, so she warns McKay that she will walk out of the new show if another word about her and Ted is printed in the papers. Learning this, Ted gets the idea to call McKay's contact at a newspaper and, pretending that he is McKay, plants a story that Lucy is going to marry him right after the show opens. The next morning, a furious Lucy walks out of the show, thus enabling Nora to go on in her place. Though Nora is a sensation, she is broken-hearted over Ted until Jenny, who has known about the plan all along, tells her about Ted's scheme. Nora and Ted are then happily reconciled, but Jenny and Gunny's happiness is once again interrupted. Gunny is overjoyed to learn that Sally is his daughter, but because Jenny was so secretive, Gunny believed that she had been cheating on him, and in desperation he signed up for another four years in the navy.