Based on William Saroyan's play, a people-person hangs out in a friendly saloon and helps his stooge fall in love.
At Nick's Saloon Joe (James Cagney) buys five newspapers. Joe asks Tom (Wayne Morris) how he saved his life and sends him to buy toys. Kitty Duval (Jeanne Cagney) says she was in burlesque and is defensive. Joe buys champagne for her. Harry (Paul Draper) auditions as a dancing comedian for Nick (William Bendix). Dudley R. Bostwick (Jimmy Lydon) tries to call Elsie but gets a wrong number and invites her.
Wesley (Reginald Beane) asks Nick for a job and collapses from hunger. Nick gives him food. Nick tells Harry that he is not funny. Wesley plays piano, and Joe has Tom dance with Kitty. The woman arrives, but Dudley denies that is his name. Freddy Blick (Tom Powers) asks about Kitty and tells Nick he wants $200. Joe talks with Mary, whom he loved before she married; she leaves.
A boy sings for Nick. The policeman Krupp (Broderick Crawford) and McCarthy (Ward Bond) come in. Harry does a monolog, but no one laughs. Tom returns and says that Kitty is crying. Joe won a bet before and tells Tom to bet it on McCarthy. Tom says he was too late, and the horse won. Joe sends Tom to buy maps and a gun and has him take the toys to Kitty.
Nick hires Wesley to play piano. Trapper Murphy (James Barton) comes in and drinks four beers bought by Joe. Murphy tells odd tales. Tom comes back and wants to marry Kitty. Joe and Tom go to help Kitty fulfill her dreams. Elsie comes in and tells Dudley that she loves him. They kiss and leave. Nick tells two women to go as Krupp comes in. Krupp tells Nick that he is going to quit because he finds himself being mean. The Arab says there is no foundation and plays the harmonica.
The Salvation Army sings in the street, and a drunk says he is saved. Joe tells Tom to give the gun away, but he declines. Joe sends Tom to buy gum and other things. Joe has Murphy load his pistol and then unloads it. Joe tries to chew more gum than Tom. Joe suggests that Tom drive a truck and calls an employer. Tom leaves for the job. Joe gives cigars to a slumming couple.
Kitty comes back and tells Joe she is not good enough for Tom. She says she loves Joe and Tom; she doesn't want to be alone. Joe goes out to get her poetry. Blick comes in and questions Kitty. When Murphy intervenes, Blick kicks him out. The couple complains but leaves. Blick says Kitty is lying, and he makes her dance on the stage and sing. She admits she lied. Blick knocks down Harry. Joe fights Blick and knocks him out. Murphy tells Nick that he shot him. Tom tells Kitty he has a job. Nick throws Blick out. Joe urges Tom and Kitty to marry and tells Murphy a tale. Nick rips up his sign "Come in and be yourself," saying enough is enough.
This stagy comedy that seldom makes one laugh portrays
diverse and mostly good-hearted characters, suggesting that life
can be good if we enjoy it and are not dissatisfied.