With the $1,000 prize money that wharf rat Michael Regan wins boxing, he is able to purchase a saloon and a freight-handling concern and begin his rise to success. By persuading his men to work for half the standard rate, Regan gains control of grain-shipping contracts held by his rival, the once wealthy James Griswold, now on the verge of bankruptcy because of Regan. When Regan meets and falls in love with Emily Griswold, he offers to merge with Griswold for permission to court Emily. She marries Regan, but remains a wife in name only. When Griswold's son provokes a strike, Regan's friend, Porkey McCoy, hits the young Griswold with a brick as he makes a speech. Regan is arrested as an instigator, but McCoy's wife insists that her husband confess. In prison, Regan turns over his property to Emily and releases her from their marriage, but she has grown to love him and refuses. When he is released, they resume their marriage and become the godparents to McCoy's son.
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