Cast & Crew
Unemployed and broke, teenager Annette Eldridge allows bachelor Buck Keegar to befriend her, unaware that he is a notorious jewel thief. When Annette is caught carrying some of Buck's stolen jewelry, she is arrested with him and, in spite of her pleas of innocence, is sentenced to three years in reform school. At the State School for Girls, the good-hearted Annette quickly ingratiates herself with her dormitory mates and with the gentle assistant matron, Miss Cartwright. The harsh and unfair treatment that the cruel head matron, Miss Keeble, imposes on Annette and the other girls causes Annette to grow increasingly despondent, however. To alleviate Annette's depression, Miss Cartwright allows her to abandon the back-breaking work in Miss Keeble's artichoke fields and plant her own flower garden. Soon after, during a school inspection, Annette meets playboy Gary Waltham, the youngest member of the school's board of trustees, who immediately falls in love with her. When Gary learns of Miss Keeble's deceptive practices, which include taking money made from the artichoke fields and Annette's flower garden for her own private use, he vows to free Annette. Ever spiteful, however, Miss Keeble refuses Gary's request for Annette's parole, and Gary threatens to expose the matron to the governor. While a reformed Gary attempts to convince the governor, a family friend, of Annette's innocence, Annette is visited by Buck, who has escaped from prison. Still enamored of Annette, Buck foists his gun on her with orders to use it that night to escape. Although Annette hides the gun, it is found by her roommate, Gladys Deacon, who then plans an escape for herself and another inmate, Florence Burns. Bedridden with pneumonia, which she caught from a dying inmate after Miss Keeble refused to send the girl to the hospital, Annette avoids participating in the escape, which ends when Miss Keeble is shot. Because she had grabbed Buck's gun away from Gladys during the escape, Annette is suspected of Miss Keeble's murder until Miss Cartwright confesses that she killed the matron by rigging a loaded pistol to her radio dial. After the governor declares that Miss Cartwright will receive clemency and that the school's policies will be reformed, Annette is then paroled to the loving custody of Gary.
Anna Q. Nilsson
Onscreen opening credits conclude with a special cast credit for Anne Shirley. Shirley changed her name from Dawn O'Day shortly before the opening of her first "hit" movie, Anne of Green Gables, in November 1934. This film was shot in mid-1934 but was not released until February 1935, months after Shirley had become well known by her new stage name. The filmmakers, however, neglected to delete the original "Dawn O'Day" credit from the main onscreen cast list. According to a Hollywood Reporter production chart, Joyce Compton and Mary Forbes were cast members, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.