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Edythe Ellis secretly marries Charles Wharton, the son of the mayor of their town, just before the end of World War I. Because of the difference in their social positions, Charles wants to keep their marriage secret. When Edythe is slightly injured in a car crash after a night of drinking with Charles, his parents refuse to let him see her, even though it is revealed that Edythe is now pregnant. Although Edythe's mother cares for her during her pregnancy, when the baby is born, Mrs. Ellis insists that the baby girl be given to an orphanage. The baby, named Carol, is adopted by the kindly Caldwells, who rear her as their own. At her eighteenth birthday party, her cousin Betty, who knows about Carol's history, becomes friendly with Carol and the two become close, even though Carol disapproves of Betty's drinking and carousing. Betty tries to use Carol to help her have secret meetings with her boyfriend Bruce, who also has a reputation for being "fast." Her plan backfires, however, when Bruce falls in love with Carol. Seeing Carol and Bruce embracing, Betty becomes jealous and tells them about Carol's background. Determined to earn her own way now, Carol leaves home and takes a job as an entertainer in the Cuddle Club, a notorious club which is secretly owned by Charles, who is now involved in the rackets. Bruce, who has become a model young man, tries to convince Carol to marry him, but she refuses. He then solicits the aid of the Caldwells and Edythe, who has become a prominent judge. Although Edythe learns that Carol is her long-lost daughter, she says nothing, but warns her to leave the Cuddle Club before it is raided. Charles warns Edythe that she will be exposed if she attempts to close the club, but she remains firm. Finally, Edythe is able to have Charles arrested, thus clearing the way for Bruce and Carol to marry. Although she does not reveal to Carol that she is her mother, she tells the girl that she personally knows both of her parents. She then watches tearfully as Bruce and Carol leave.