Cast & Crew
Martha Hicks, who poses as Countess von Claudvig, is released on parole from prison and immediately extorts money from various men across the country until she gets to Paradise Hot Springs, Wisconsin, where her husband Elmer owns a failing spa. Because he and his full-grown daughters, Alice and Patsy, were told that the Countess was a missionary who died helping others, Elmer is shocked by her unannounced arrival. Elmer fears her presence will bring disrespect to the family if anyone finds out that she is an international thief, and the Countess agrees not to reveal her identity to anyone on condition that Elmer gives her money for a trip to China. When the Countess finds out that Alice wants to marry David Butterworth, son of the owner of the bank, but that his father James disapproves of the match because of her family's poverty, however, she schemes to make James believe that Alice is worth a great deal of money. Meanwhile, the more precocious daughter, Patsy, has fallen in love with Jack Houston, a criminal who is hiding out at the hotel. James falls for the Countess' scheme, and Alice's engagement is announced at a reception where the Countess gives him fake securities. James realizes he has been taken when he discovers the securities are actually bundled newspaper. The day of Alice and David's wedding, the Countess sets up Houston for arrest and extorts money from James. Houston is released by a federal agent who is on the Countess' trail after he convinces the agent that the Countess is up to her old tricks. The Countess eludes the federal agent and hops a train, discovering to her horror that Patsy is on board, eloping with Houston. The countess tries to talk sense to the girl, but when she refuses to listen, the Countess pulls the emergency brake and sacrifices her own getaway to save Patsy from a mistake. The Countess implicates Houston in her extortion scheme, and both are arrested. Back in jail without her daughters ever realizing she is their mother, the Countess gaily recounts her adventures to her prison mates.
J. Farrell Mcdonald
Nellie V. Nichols
According to a contemporary article, the pre-release title of the film was Sporting Widow. Copyright records and Motion Picture Herald call the main character the "Countess of Auburn," although she is referred to as "von Claudvig" in the film. Both Robert Harris and Benjamin Glazer are listed as associate producers in studio script files, but their contribution to the final film has not been determined. The final script in the Paramount story files at AMPAS library lists Irving Cummings as director.