Chorus girls find the money in this Depression musical based on Avery Hapwood's play.
Fay Fortune (Ginger Rogers) sings "We're In the Money" in English and Pig Latin, but the sheriff closes the show and collects the properties. Many shows have closed because of the Depression. Trixie (Aline MacMahon) steals the neighbor's milk. Several chorus girls pool their best clothes so that Carol (Joan Blondell) can impress Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks). Barney is putting on a show about the Depression and hears Brad (Dick Powell) singing a torch song next door. Barney has everything but the money. Brad offers $15,000, but only Polly Parker (Ruby Keeler) believes him until he brings the cash. Rehearsals start. Barney Hopkins is presenting Forgotten Melody, but his main actor is suffering lumbago. Barney tells Brad he must go on. Brad and Polly sing "Pettin' In the Park," and he uses a can opener to cut open her metal dress.
Newspapers expose the blue-blooded Brad as from a Boston banking family. His brother Lawrence (Warren William) complains and threatens to cut off his money if he marries Polly. His lawyer Peabody (Guy Kibbee) calls showgirls gold diggers and parasites. Assuming she is Polly, Lawrence asks Carol how much money she wants. Trixie suggests they have a conference at a speakeasy and orders two $75 hats C.O.D.; Lawrence and Peabody pay for them. Lawrence tells Peabody he will get Polly to change her affection to him. Trixie gets Peabody's platinum cigarette lighter, and he buys her a dog. While Lawrence dances with Carol, Trixie chases Fay away from Peabody. Not knowing her name, Lawrence thinks Polly would be better for Brad. Lawrence takes Carol home and says he loves her before passing out drunk. Trixie and Carol put Lawrence in Carol's bed. In the morning Trixie asks Lawrence for money, and he writes a check for $10,000. Carol tells Trixie she loves Lawrence. Peabody tells Lawrence he loves Trixie, and they see in a newspaper that Brad married Polly. Lawrence complains to Carol and says he loves her; but she won't marry him unless he accepts Brad's marriage, which he finally does after he learns that Peabody married Trixie. Finally two Busby Berkeley numbers are presented, concluding with Carol singing the "Forgotten Man" with soldiers marching home from war and men standing in line for charity food.
Depression desperation is reflected in the chorus girls' gold digging. They help each other out, though Trixie scares Fay away from Peabody. In the end the men with the money marry the women with the beauty.