Based on an autobiography and play by Owen Kildare, a young man is converted from being a gangster by a loving settlement house worker.
When he is ten years old, Owen (John McCann) becomes an orphan and is raised by Maggie Conway (Maggie Weston) and Jim Conway (James A. Marcus), who is drunk again. Owen fights back by throwing a can at Jim and is chased out of the house. Seven years later Owen (H. McCoy) gets into a fight.
At age 25 Owen (Rockcliffe Fellowes) leads a gang. The new district attorney Ames (Carl Harbaugh) says the gangs must go. In her home Marie Deering (Anna Q. Nilsson) asks Ames if she can meet them. Ames takes the ladies to a saloon, but they decide to leave. Ames is roughed up, and Owen escorts Marie out. Across the street a man is making a speech that charity is needed there.
Marie works in a settlement house, and she invites some men on an outing. She gives Owen a bottle of milk. A cigarette starts a fire, and people flee in panic. Some jump from the boat, and the children are saved.
The Flahertys fight, and Mrs. Flaherty asks the settlement house for help. A worker is intimidated by Mr. Flaherty, and so they ask Owen to go. He pushes down Flaherty, picks up the baby, and takes it to Marie, who hands it to Mrs. Flaherty. A short gang member gives the beer to Marie to take to Owen, who is playing cards. Owen learns about love and goes to Marie.
A few weeks later Skinny (William Sheer) has taken Owen's place as gang leader. Owen buys flowers and gives them to Marie. Ames asks Marie to return to her own life, but she teaches Owen.
A gang member stabs a cop, runs away, and asks Owen to hide him. Ames catches the culprit, but Owen climbs over a fence. Owen goes back to his studying, but Marie discovers he left and cries. Ames tells Owen that by going back to his friends he lost Marie.
Owen goes home and sends a note to the gang to leave him alone. Marie goes to the gang, and Skinny tells her that Owen is upstairs. Owen sneaks out and goes to a priest. Skinny goes after Marie, and Owen goes back to the gang. Marie struggles with Skinny. Owen fights with the gang. The police arrive and fight the gang too. Marie hides behind a door, but Skinny has a gun. Owen finds Marie and carries her home. He sits by her bed and kisses her before she dies.
Skinny has packed a bag. Owen finds him, and they fight. Owen is strangling him when he sees Marie's spirit and lets him go. The short gang member sees Skinny escaping and shoots him. Owen sees that Skinny is dead. At her grave Owen realizes how Marie has changed him into a better person.
This morality drama reflects the rough neighborhoods
in New York, where poor immigrants struggle in difficult circumstances
while a few people try to help them by living and working in settlement
houses. The message obviously is that love and education can redeem
people from a life of ignorance, crime, and violence.