Ella, who slaves in the Cinders household to ensure the comfort of her stepsisters Lotta and Prissy Pill, has only one joy in life--the smile of Waite Lifter, the local iceman. When a movie contest is announced, Ella has herself photographed as an entry; she goes to the ball dressed in one of Lotta's gowns and her stepmother's piano scarf as a drape but is dragged home by an indignant Ma Cinders. They are all disgusted when Ella wins the contest and is sent to Hollywood. There she finds herself jobless, and after a chase with a gateman, she gains entry to a studio and disrupts numerous productions. Finally, caught in a fire scene and thinking it is real, Ella is awarded a contract for her splendid acting. Waite, who has promised to marry Ella, leaves for Hollywood, claiming he is broke (he is really wealthy), and is happily united with Ella in a desert town.