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Teenage sweethearts Constance Sinclair and Gene Gibson carouse on a Florida beach with a group of their high society friends. When the alcohol supply runs low, the couple go to "rum row" in Gene's speedboat, but are arrested by revenue officers as they return to the party. Connie's prim mother Caroline is furious when, as a result of the arrest, a photograph of Connie in a revealing bathing suit is published in a local newspaper. Determined to separate Connie from the dissolute Gene, Caroline takes her on to Samoa, where they meet the pretentious Baron Karl Franz Josef von Konetz, and Caroline arranges his engagement to Connie. When the Sinclairs and the baron return home to celebrate the engagement, Connie is surprised by the sudden appearance of Gene, who had not contacted her while she was away. Gene assures Connie of his love for her, and Connie rushes off to tell her mother that she will not marry von Konetz. While Connie is absent, however, Gene learns of her engagement to the baron and leaves after writing her a note of congratulations. The disspirited Connie then agrees to go along with Caroline's plans, while Gene engages in a three-day drunken party that forces the apartment manager to summon Gene's hypocritical father John. The elder Gibson is disgusted by his son's behavior, but cannot defend himself against Gene's charges of neglect. John's adviser Trent counsels him to entrust Gene to the care of Tom McGuire, an Adirondack guide who specializes in "rebuilding rich men's sons." McGuire arrives and, after explaining to John that he will build up Gene physically, leaves with the youth, who resents his Irish tutor. At McGuire's cabin in the Airondacks, Gene vows to improve himself so that he can beat up McGuire, but as the weeks pass and his strength and clarity of mind return, he grudgingly begins to respect him. Gene is also impressed by McGuire's devotion to his wife Maggie and young son Timmy and wishes that his father had been as attentive as McGuire. The test of Gene's newfound determination comes when he convinces McGuire to attend his sister's wedding. McGuire is reluctant to leave the youth alone, but Gene assures him that he can be trusted. Once McGuire leaves, however, Connie appears. Gene is glad to see her, but insists that she return to her hotel to spend the night. When a snowstorm prevents her from leaving, Connie attempts to seduce Gene, but he locks himself in his bedroom. The next morning, an admiring Connie admits that Gene has changed for the better. When McGuire returns to the cabin before Connie leaves, he is furious upon discovering that she spent the night there. Before Gene can explain, McGuire hits him, and the two are brawling when John, Caroline and Trent arrive for a visit. Gene bests McGuire and explains that he wishes to marry Connie. John gives his consent and offers Gene a job and an apartment, and Caroline, who learned her lesson about matchmaking when the baron was arrested for writing bad checks, also approves. McGuire pronounces that Gene has graduated and tells the sweethearts that if they make friends of their children, they will not need the likes of him. Connie calls McGuire an "old sweetie," and the grateful Gene tells him that he is a real pal.