Based on Hubert Henry Davies' play Outcast, a working-class woman saves and marries a jilted, drunk lawyer, who comes to realize he loves her more than the high society woman.
Outside the wedding of John Marland and social register Valentine the drunk Geoffrey Sherwood (Ian Hunter) mocks the ceremony, implying she is not marrying for love. Miriam Brady (Bette Davis) saves Geoffrey from being taken to Bellevue. Miriam takes off from her job sewing, as Hugh Brown (John Eldredge) offers her $100 to get Geoffrey back to his club. She got Geoffrey a shave, and he bought her an outfit. He wakes up in her bed to discover they were married. Miriam gives back his ring. Geoffrey buys a bottle of bourbon. She tells him to cry until he forgets Valentine. Miriam will help him taper off his drinking. Before Geoffrey's friends Hugh and Tony, Miriam says their marriage is temporary, embarrassing everyone. Miriam's landlady Mrs. Martin (Alison Skipworth) helps Miriam speak and act more correctly.
Geoffrey resigned from his law firm and works for an oil company. He has been avoiding his old friends, and Miriam refrains from going to lunch with him. Valentine (Katharine Alexander) calls on Geoffrey and learns he has dropped their friends. She says she has no one to talk to. Miriam meets Hugh, Tony, and John Marland (Colin Clive) on the street and learns that Marland has moved back to his club. He asks her to travel sooner with her husband, because Valentine is after Geoffrey. Miriam tells Geoffrey she saw Marland. Geoffrey says Valentine asked his advice, but he refuses to say whether he loves her. Valentine won't talk with Miriam; so Miriam and Mrs. Martin attend her luncheon at the Waldorf. Mrs. Martin advises to her to be superior. Miriam introduces herself to Valentine and tells her to leave Geoffrey alone, provoking Valentine to throw a grapefruit at her.
Geoffrey shows Miriam the newspaper story and packs, while Miriam defends herself. Geoffrey says they are too far apart and is going to his club. Miriam angrily says he took guts from her. She is moving out instead and goes to Mrs. Martin crying. Geoffrey leaves, buys liquor, goes to his club and calls Mrs. Martin; but Miriam won't talk to him. Geoffrey finds Marland drunk. Marland says Geoffrey can make Valentine happy. At 3 a.m. they go to Valentine. Geoffrey says he can't marry her, because he loves Miriam. In the final scene Geoffrey gives Miriam a ring that is permanent.
The caring and socially improving Miriam overcomes social prejudices. Geoffrey stops running after the socialite when he realizes he has found something better.