Emma is a turn-of-the-century domestic drama completely dominated by star Marie Dressler. She plays the maid of an upper middle class family, keeping her wits about her as her employers suffer crisis after crisis. When the master of the house (Jean Hersholt), a prominent inventor, is widowed, he proposes marriage to Emma. Shortly afterward, Hersholt dies, and Emma, who has married "out of her class," is accused of murder by Hersholt's jealous children. Cleared of the accusation, Emma turns over her inheritance to the selfish children and heads off to work for another family, once again making the best of any and all bad situations.