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FIn New Orleans in 1865, Captain Frank Truscott heads for the town's least reputable saloon, the Scarlet Angel, and flashes his bankroll. As Frank expected, bartender Pierre signals his partner, Roxy McClannahan, the saloon's most beautiful dancing girl, and she flirts with Frank. Frank cleverly deflects all of Roxy's attempts to swindle him, and when the police arrive to arrest her for stealing another customer's wallet, he starts a fight to create a diversion so she can escape. He brings her back to his room, where he tries to seduce her but is repeatedly rebuffed. Concerned about his aggressiveness, Roxy pretends to be worried about a crying baby next door. There, they discover the baby's mother, Linda Caldwell, passed out on the bed. Frank revives Linda, feeds her and teaches Roxy how to care for the baby, Bobby. After Roxy insists on staying with Linda for the night, Linda reveals that Bobby's father, Robert, died only days after their marriage, and that she was on her way to their home in the country when she suffered one of her "attacks." Desperate to escape the law and Frank, Roxy offers to take Linda and Bobby to their home that night, and sneaks back into Frank's room to steal enough money for a carriage. Over the months, Roxy grows close to Linda, who tells her everything about Robert. Soon, however, Linda suffers a fatal attack, and when the doctor arrives, Roxy, seeing a chance for a new life, instructs him to put the name "Roxy McClannahan" on the death certificate. The next day, an attorney informs her that he has fulfilled Linda's request to track down Robert's relatives, and that the Caldwells have sent money for Linda to visit them. Hoping for a reward for Bobby, Roxy travels under Linda's name to the huge Caldwell estate in San Francisco, but once there, Robert's overjoyed parents, Eugenia and Morgan, will not listen to her explanations. Cousins Susan and Malcolm Bradley both suspect Roxy of being an imposter but teach her how to act like a lady to protect the family name. Soon, Roxy is ready to be presented at a ball, where she is wooed by both Malcolm, who wants to marry her to ensure his inheritance, and the rich, eligible bachelor Norton Wade. Her evening is ruined, however, by the arrival of Frank, who has tracked her down to demand the money she stole. Susan, suspicious of Frank, insists that he stay to dance, but he will not answer any of her probing questions about "Linda's" past. The next day, Roxy brings Frank's money to his quarters. When Susan also visits, Roxy listens from the closet as Susan offers $50,000 for information about Linda. Frank turns her down but, after she has left, tells Roxy he will keep asking for more money unless she reveals her true identity to the Caldwells. She retorts that she knows he is leaving for a year abroad and plans to secure her fortune by marrying Malcolm or Norton. After she tells him that even if the men found her out, they would cover up the truth to avoid a scandal, he declares that he had more respect for her as a saloon girl. Over the next year, while Roxy grows more attached to Bobby and more and more bored with society life and Frank travels the world, neither can stop thinking about the other. Malcolm falls in love with Roxy and repeatedly asks her to marry him, but she refuses. Finally, Frank returns to San Francisco and invites her to a saloon party, during which Roxy punches a dancer then escapes with Frank after a brawl breaks out. Outside, they kiss delightedly, and Roxy promises to reveal the truth to the Caldwells and join Frank the next day. When she returns home, however, private investigator Phineas Calhoun and Pierre show up and blackmail her by threatening to claim that Bobby is Roxy's child, thus robbing the boy of his rightful inheritance. To protect Bobby, Linda asks Malcolm to marry her and adopt the child. When Frank discovers that she has left with Malcolm, he is convinced that she has double-crossed him. Soon after, the family waits impatiently while Roxy dresses Bobby for the wedding. Upon noticing his birthmark, which is exactly like the one on Robert which Linda had described, Roxy realizes that she can now prove Bobby's parentage. After she tells the Caldwells the truth, she finds Frank drowning his sorrows at the local saloon and convinces him of her sincerity. Calhoun and Pierre then show up, having followed her there, but Frank and Roxy knock them out, happily starting yet another bar brawl.