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At Christmas time in San Francisco, Joe Miracle steals $100,000 from the River Club, which he used to own. After evading his pursuers, Joe hides out with Victor Christopher, the brother of his dead partner Leo, and Victor's wife Clara. Clara has purchased a berth for Joe on the next ship leaving the city. The ship, however, will not depart until the following night. While Joe is trying to decide where he will hide until then, the police demand to search the apartment. At first Joe believes they are looking for the stolen money, but learns that they want to arrest Victor for disturbing the peace and beating Clara. When the police mistake Joe for Victor and arrest him for the night, Joe believes that his problems are solved, but Jenny Jones, a social worker, persuades the judge to give Joe a suspended sentence. Joe then suggests that he stay at the settlement house until he can control his urge to beat Clara. Later Joe telephones Clara and asks her to bring him the stolen money. While Joe is hanging Christmas decorations, a group of teenagers talk him into a dice game. Joe wins from the boys the money they were supposed to spend on a Christmas tree. Later, he secretly returns the money to Jenny's desk, leaving the boys to figure out a solution to their problem. Joe then hides the stolen money in the gym. After the boys cut down a tree from the park, Jenny persuades the police not to press charges against them, but is angry that Joe gambled with them. Then, when Joe accidentally falls on the piano and breaks it, she is ready to ask him to leave. Her attitude softens a little, however, when she discovers the returned money in her desk. Later, Joe visits a piano store that is actually a front for a bookie operation and coerces the owner into providing a free piano to replace the broken one. While at the store, Joe is spotted by newspaper columnist "Early" Byrd, who follows him to the settlement house and questions Jenny about him. After the janitor finds a gun hidden in Joe's mattress, Jenny reveals that she knows Joe's real identity and asks him to leave. When he objects, Jenny shows him her hearing aid and tells him about her abusive father, whose beatings made her deaf. Their discussion is interrupted by the delivery of new towels, sheets, blankets and several bathtubs--all arranged by Joe. Joe, who has gone to his room to pack, finds Byrd waiting for him, and from him learns that Leo was killed by the syndicate when he refused to sell the River Club while Joe was in the Army. Just before he leaves, Joe accompanies Jenny to visit some poor Polish-Americans. He asks Jenny to leave the country with him, but before she can make a decision, the syndicate, alerted by Byrd, corners him and demands that he return the stolen money. Although Jenny begs Joe to comply, he insists that the money is rightfully his. The gangsters then start a fire in the settlement house and are able to retrieve the money in the confusion, but the building burns to the ground. Later, Joe sneaks into the River Club and forces Barney Teener, the boss, to replace the money taken by his friends. Then, disguised as Santa Claus, Joe donates the entire amount to the settlement house building fund. As he leaves, Joe is shot by a gang member. Jenny rushes to him, and both realize that after he recovers, they will spend their lives together.