Max Miller's best-seller forms the basis of this romantic melodrama about cynical, hard-drinking reporter Joe Miller (Ben Lyon), who exploits his romance with Julie Kirk (Claudette Colbert) to hand in a sensational story to his newspaper. Julie's father Eli (Ernest Torrence) is a decrepit sea-captain who smuggles in illegal Chinese on the West Coast. For years, Joe has been promising his newspaper editor a major scoop on Chinese smuggling operations, and he finally delivers when Joe catches Eli red-handed. But his torrid affair with Julie confuses matters. Originally Joe's plan was to get to Eli through Julie, but now he is in love with her, and he is not sure what to do.