After her son returns home in a drunken stupor late one night, his mother steals into his room, where she finds a revolver, robbery tools, and a letter that implicates him in a murder. Paging through a photograph album, the worried mother is reminded that her father, to win the love of a woman, betrayed his country during the Civil War, a crime for which he was executed. Later, her husband embezzled funds from his firm in order to buy gifts for his mistress, and when a colleague caught him, the husband became a murderer. Realizing that her son has inherited these defects, the mother raises the revolver, shoots him, and then dies of a broken heart.
The picture was also known as The Seeds of the Father.