With a blonde wigged Joan Crawford offering one of her more high-handed performances, and veteran silent star Pauline Frederick doing her best to keep up, audiences are in for MGM soap-opera at its 1931 zenith. Reunited with her long-lost mother in Paris, Crawford fails to realize that the loving and dignified woman is actually kept by a Parisian roué Albert Conti. Although she briefly falls in with a fast crowd, headed by the alcoholic Monroe Owsley, Crawford, a good girl at heart, falls in love with visiting Harvard graduate Neil Hamilton, and he with her. But Hamilton's stern, puritanical parents (Hobart Bosworth and Emma Dunn) frown upon Crawford's Parisian friends, who rudely spoil a dignified but deadly dull evening of superficial conversation and bridge. When a disgusted Hamilton informs his upcoming bride about her mother's true metier, Crawford is at first disbelieving and then huffily breaks the engagement. A penitent Frederick agrees to leave her life as a kept woman, but when she realizes that her daughter still carries a torch for the stuffy Hamilton, she pretends to willingly return to Conti. Denouncing her mother, Crawford goes on a tryst with Owsley, but is returned by Hamilton, who reunites her with the self-sacrificing Miss Frederick.