Elmer Rice adapted his own play about tenement neighbors who gossip about a married woman seeing another man.
On the steps and from the windows Emma Jones (Beulah Bondi) and other residents of a tenement complain of the heat and gossip about Steve Sankey (Russell Hopton) and Mrs. Maurrant (Estelle Taylor). Alice Simpson says that the Hildebrands are being evicted but went to the movies with money that she gave them; Italian Filippo Fiorentino (George Humbert) gives them $2. Socialist Abe Kaplan (Max Montor) speaks from a window, but Frank Maurrant (David Landau) dislikes foreigners and revolutionaries. Filippo dances with Mrs. Maurrant. Willie Maurrant (Lambert Rogers) comes home crying. Frank asks where his daughter Rose is. Easter brings Rose Maurrant (Sylvia Sidney) home in a taxi and kisses her against her will. He is married but asks Rose to get an apartment. Rose tells her father that Easter is her boss. A fellow drinks with Mae Jones (Greta Granstedt). Vincent Jones (Matt McHugh) tries to embrace Rose and bullies timid Sam Kaplan (William Collier Jr.). Rose asks Sam to say a poem and kisses him.
The next morning Dan Buchanan says the baby was born. Sam's mother reminds him that Rose is not a Jew, and Emma Jones warns Rose about Sam's family. Jealous Frank tells his wife to stay home, but Rose asks him to be nice to her mother. Mrs. Maurrant bought a chicken to make soup for the Buchanans. School-teacher Shirley Kaplan (Ann Kostant) tells Rose that Sam can't marry for years if he wants to go to law school. Rose asks Sam to run away with her. Easter comes to take Rose to a funeral at a synagogue. Mrs. Maurrant calls Steve to come in. Two men arrive to evict the Hildebrands. Frank comes home unexpectedly and shoots Steve. Frank comes out with a gun and goes downstairs. A crowd gathers as an ambulance arrives to treat Mrs. Maurrant; but Steve is dead. Rose asks Sam what happened and sees her mother carried out to the ambulance. A comedian policeman says that Frank has not been caught. Emma Jones says he had a reason. Easter offers to help Rose, who must care for Willie.
Police capture Frank, who tells Rose that he was drinking. Shirley asks Rose about the chicken and takes it to Buchanan. Sam tells Rose he will go with her. She says no now so they can get started first. They kiss, and he goes in. Shirley packed Rose's bag, and they say good-bye.
In this slice of city life a variety of characters interact with their different values. What seems like just talk turns out to affect people's lives with serious consequences.