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Because of a racketeering group known as The System, which demands protection money from grocery store owners, food prices are so high that many people cannot afford to eat. The head of The System is Jack Bannister, who has grown rich enough from his illegal activities to send his daughter Gloria to Europe for her schooling. When a committee of businessmen is formed to break Bannister's power, he blackmails one of them, Andrew Gregory, into acting as his spy. Unable to betray the committee, Gregory commits suicide. When Gloria returns from Europe, she tells her father that she is engaged to Dick Cheney, who is from a socially respectable but impoverished family. Gloria is worried that Dick's family will not think she is good enough for him, so she quizzes Bannister about his business. He decides to tell her the truth. She is horribly upset and, refusing to live on money earned illegally, insists she will get a job. Realizing he cannot change her mind, Bannister asks Mary Stanton, a socialite who owes him a favor, to hire Gloria as a French tutor for her small son, without revealing his part in the matter. Mary, who is secretly working for the committee, agrees. Meanwhile, The System goes to war with the Consolidated Milk Company after they refuse to pay protection money. Consolidated threatens to kidnap Gloria if Bannister does not stop the war, but the conflict has gone too far for one man to control. When Gloria learns what is happening from Mary, she brings Mary and her son Malcolm to the Bannisters for protection. Bannister finally stops the war when he threatens to turn The System's books over to the district attorney. Snead, Bannister's second in command, decides to eliminate his boss. He sends a man who had been broken by Bannister to deliver a message. After the man recognizes Bannister's voice, they struggle and Bannister is killed. With Bannister gone, The System is smashed.