Sylvia has had a life-long determination to marry a wealthy man, so she must fight against her own feelings when she falls in love with penniless Stephen Siward. Stephen, too, has to fight a battle against himself, but his struggle started generations before he was born, as he comes from a family of alcoholics. Stephen makes vow after vow to stop drinking, but always, finally, succumbs once again. For awhile, even Sylvia cannot help him, because although she loves him, she is also repelled by him and by everything for which he stands. Finally, however, Sylvia gets over her prejudice against poverty, helps Stephen reform and then marries him.