Diabolical French capitalist Paul Reynard is forced to leave Irene, his bride of one year, when he is arrested for the crimes of forgery and embezzlement and sentenced to a penal colony off the coast of South America. To remain close to her husband, Irene, accompanied by Dirk, Paul's body guard and valet, travels to Rio de Janeiro, where she finds a job singing in Roberto's Cafe. At the cafe, Irene meets Bill Gregory, an American engineer whose morale has been destroyed by the collapse of a bridge that he was building. Bill falls in love with Irene, and one night while drunk, volunteers to design an irrigation system for the drought-stricken peasants living on Roberto's ranch. Though his offer was a drunken boast, when Bill sobers up, he is touched by the plight of the peasants and begins to design a dam. Meanwhile, at the penal colony, Paul, goaded by the sadistic guard Rocco, becomes restless and sends an emissary to Dirk, instructing him to arrange a jail break. After completing the dam, Bill proclaims his love to Irene, but she remains faithful to Paul, even though she no longer loves him. Soon afterward, Paul stages a jail break and pins his identification number onto a fellow prisoner that he has murdered during the escape. Receiving word of her husband's death, Irene accepts Bill's proposal and they are in the midst of planning their wedding when Paul appears and threatens Bill's life. As the police surround them, Dirk pleads with Paul to give himself up, and in the ensuing struggle, Paul is shot. Dirk then picks up Paul's unconscious body, walks into the police dragnet and perishes in a hail of bullets.