A generous woman has a poor artist with his family and friends move in with her; they sell her paintings and try to get her money.
On Christmas Eve Henry Abbott (Basil Rathbone) draws a picture on the sidewalk and asks Mary Herries (Aline MacMahon) for tea. Henry admires her El Greco and says he has a wife and child. He puts a cigarette case in his pocket while Mary gets a coat to give his wife. Her maid Rose (Nola Luxford) says Henry is too good-looking. Mary gives her niece Phyllis (Mary Carlisle) and Peter Santard (Frank Albertson) gifts. Henry returns the case and shows his paintings to Mary. Both agree they are bad. Henry insists that Mary buy one, and Mary tells him never to come back. Henry's wife Ada (Justine Chase) and the baby are outside in the rain. They are brought in, and a doctor (Murray Kinnell) has Ada put to bed. Rose tells Mary that the cook left because of the Abbotts. Mr. Edwards (Dudley Digges), his wife (Eily Malyon), and their daughter Aggie (Barbara Shields) bring a phonograph for Ada. Rose tells Mary she is leaving and that Ada is faking illness. Mary plans to travel with Rose and tells the doctor she is closing the house. Henry recommends Mrs. Edwards as a cook and tells Mary they have no home. Mary tells Henry and the others to leave; but they stay and surround her. Mary asks for medicine and faints. The doctor has her put in bed, and her shutters are nailed shut.
Rose comes in; Henry gives her money, and she leaves, followed by the doctor. Rose sneaks back in, and the doctor finds her. In the next scene the doctor writes a death certificate for Rose. Ada dances in her nightgown laughing, and Henry slaps her. Mary asks Henry to let her go. He tells her to sign a paper, but she refuses. The doctor says Rose had a good funeral. Mary throws a note out the window. Downstairs she meets Gustave Roubet (Frank Reicher) looking at the paintings, and she slips him a note. Henry arranges a deal for the paintings with Roubet, who gives Mary's note to him. Mary says they must despise themselves.
Peter and Phyllis call, but Aggie says Mary is in America. Lucy (Doris Lloyd) tells Peter and Phyllis about the terrible people at Mary's. Peter calls on Henry, who says he stored away the paintings. Peter tries to see the house, learns Mary never sailed, and asks the police to search the house. Mary gives banker Foster (Donald Meek) a note. Henry tells Foster that Mary is deranged and that he has power of attorney. Foster denies Mary gave him a note and breaks a window. Peter arrives with the police and rescues Mary. In the final scene Mary celebrates Christmas again.
This nightmarish story reflects deep conflicts between the wealthy and the poor. The wealthy fear the poor will take away their lifestyle, while the poor often are envious and hostile to the rich, though seldom are these tactics used.