A broke man rejects marrying a millionaire and is saved from suicide by a fishing family; then he falls in love with their singing daughter.
In San Francisco millionaire Jane Lansing (Marla Shelton) calls on Paul Herrick (Dean Jagger). Paul lost $50,000 of her money and says he is too broke to marry her. Paul gets drunk again and is saved from drowning by fishermen. At dinner Benvenuto Romandi (Nat Pendleton) complains that Guido Romandi (Edward Norris) is going out with Marge. Angelina Romandi (Margaret Lindsay) comes in singing and scolds Paul for getting out of bed. Angelina wants to study singing in Milan. Mario (J. Carroll Naish) asks Angelina to marry but is put off. When Jane calls and nags, Paul tells her she has the wrong number. Guido wants a Rhodes scholarship, but Marge (Fay Helm) wants to marry him.
Benvenuto wakes Paul at 4 a.m. to fish. They sing on the boat, and Paul struggles with the fishing. Angelina nurses Paul's hands, and he quits. When Benvenuto and Angelina condemn him for not working, he changes his mind. A detective tells Jane what Paul is doing. Mario tells Mr. Romandi (Charles Judels) and his wife that he will pay for Angelina to go to Milan, making Angelina happy. Mr. Romandi told the "Brotherhood" of Tony (Frank Puglia) he won't pay. Mario goes to Tony and knocks him out. Angelina sings for Paul and draws a crowd. Paul kisses Angelina. Benvenuto tells Angelina that Guido is giving up his Rhodes scholarship to marry Marge. Angelina says she is not going to Milan, because she won't marry Mario. Benvenuto gets angry at Paul, and they fight. Paul saves Benvenuto from drowning.
Jane has Paul arrested for taking her $50,000, and police tell Angelina, who decides to go to Milan. Marge tells Angelina and Benvenuto that she is leaving Guido and cries. Paul goes on a cruise with Jane. Angelina sails with Mario. Jane tells Paul she will get a divorce in Mexico. Paul sees the Romandis on their boat. Mario is wounded by a bomb that Tony left. Paul hears on radio of the burning ship and goes on a tugboat. Paul swims to the burning ship and finds Angelina nursing Mario. In the final scene the Romandis celebrate with Jane's friends. As Angelina sings, Benvenuto, Jane, and Mario tell Paul that he is a rat and push him toward Angelina, who kisses Paul.
This romantic drama celebrates the hard work of an immigrant family that enables their children to reach higher goals, which mis-matched marriages almost ruin. The decadent Paul gets a new perspective on life from the happy working family and finds true love.