A gambler tries to take advantage of War Relief, but he falls in love along the way.
Hard Swede (Charles Bickford) tells the story of a woman waiting for a man and a ship that sunk. Joe Adams (Cary Grant) boards a ship, and Zepp (Paul Stewart) tells him they are 1-A. They gamble for the ship and the card of a dying 4-F man; Joe wins and becomes Joe Bascopolous. Zepp is rejected by a doctor. Joe tells War Relief he will give them $70,000 at a charity ball if they let him set up gambling, but Dorothy Bryant (Laraine Day) rejects this. Zepp opens a letter to Bascopolous from the parole board warning his next crime will get him life. Joe volunteers for War Relief, and Dorothy asks him to knit. He and his driver Crunk (Alan Carney) learn how to knit. When War Relief cannot pay, Joe cheats a man out of a load of blankets. Joe tells Dorothy he wants to help his family in Greece. He fights a man to get the medical supplies. Joe talks Australian slang to Dorothy and kisses her. She argues and tries to trick him but finds he does not cheat his friends. She asks him to run the gambling at the ball.
Dorothy visits her grandfather Bryant (Henry Stephenson), who tells Joe to get out. Joe delivers a check for War Relief to reserve a boat from Hargraves (Walter Kingsford), but Joe persuades him to forgo the deposit and rips up another check. At the bank Bryant approves cashing the check for Joe. Three policemen tell Dorothy they are arresting Bascopolous, but she treats Joe as the waterman and warns him. She and Joe drive to her place, and she tells of her family. She gets her grandfather to call off the police by threatening to marry Joe, who becomes angry and says he was poor. She denies she is a snob and kisses Joe. They drive back and Joe returns to kiss her. Swede gives Joe a letter for Bascopolous, and Zepp, who has been lying, says goodbye. Joe asks a priest to translate the letter from the mother who wrote that her other two sons were killed by Germans. The priest prays.
At the gambling party Joe asks Crunk for $6,000 for Hargraves and says the money is going for War Relief. Zepp shows Joe the parole letter and warns him to leave. Joe stays but puts his gun in a drawer. Joe dances with Dorothy and say he is leaving. Bryant tries to arrest Joe for cheating Hargraves, but Joe gives him the money. Joe closes the games, but Zepp takes over. Joe watches Zepp's men cheat War Relief, which gets only $812. Dorothy says Joe told her they were losing. Zepp and Joe have $200,000. When Dorothy tries to take the money, Joe knocks her out. Joe hits Zepp and is shot by him but escapes out the window. On the ship Swede removes the bullet. Dorothy learns the freighter sunk. Swede brings the money to Dorothy, who asks where Joe is. Police tell her that Bascopolous is dead, but she sees the photo is not Joe. She rushes to catch the ship. As it leaves, Joe says goodbye; but in the final scene Joe shows up and finds Dorothy.
This comedy shows how a woman working for charity wins
over the heart of a clever gambler.