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As soon as they are released from prison, crafty and tough Lorry Evans and Minnie Brown board a Mississippi River steamboat bound for New Orleans. Short on cash, the women invite two boll weevil exterminators to their cabin and, after getting them drunk, steal their money. When Lorry's activities are reported to the captain, she jumps overboard rather than be arrested, but loses the stolen cash as she is pulled from the water by Dan, the skipper of a passing cotton barge. Although she is attracted to the manly Dan, Lorry robs him of sixty dollars and, once docked in New Orleans, heads for the office of Stephen Paige, a wealthy publisher whom she had spotted on the steamboat. Using an array of feminine tricks, Lorry seduces the straight-laced Stephen and then blackmails him into making her his well-kept mistress. Once established with Stephen, Lorry returns to Dan's barge to repay him for his involuntary loan and ends up falling in love with him. Although she at first accepts Dan's marriage proposal, Lorry, who has kept her affair a secret, changes her mind when a lovesick Stephen convinces her that her past deceptions will one day lead to Dan's ruin. Lorry abandons Dan but, rather than stay with Stephen, moves to a roominghouse and takes a job in a department store. With Minnie's help, Stephen locates Lorry and, during a Mardi Gras party, makes a final, unsuccessful bid for her return. Minnie, seeing her friend's desperation, tracks down Dan and, after revealing her friend's past, reunites the two lovers.