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On election day in San Francisco, gubernatorial candidate Glen Burton and his hated rival, newspaper editor Dan Elliott, are injured when a truck runs into the tent in which they are voting. Before Glen is taken to the operating room, political boss Corrigan tells him that he is wrong to hate Dan and his wife Alice, who used to be married to Glen, because, unknown to Glen, they have orchestrated his rise to power. Glen attempts to reconcile with Alice, but is taken to the operating room, where he relives his life while he is under anaesthesia. His mind wanders back to 1917, when he and Alice were engaged: They are making plans, when Dan comes to tell them that he has been promoted to circulation manager. As they are talking, Glen's fellow soldier Eddie arrives and tells Glen that they are being shipped out immediately. Two years pass, and Glen is listed as missing in action. Dan asks Alice to marry him, but as she is packing to leave with him, Glen arrives and tells her that Dan has known for months that he was alive. Dan arrives, and Glen accuses him of shirking from the war and trying to steal Alice. Dan warns Alice that Glen will never amount to anything, then leaves. Later after Glen and Alice are married, Glen studies at night to become a lawyer, while he searches unsuccessfully for work during the day. He becomes discouraged despite Alice's ambitious pep talks, and so Alice asks Dan to help him. Glen rudely refuses Dan's job offer, and while he is blowing off steam by walking on the docks, he witnesses a brawl between the workers and a union boss's gang. Glen helps the workers win, and the grateful foreman gives him a job. Six months later, Glen is a foreman himself and content to stay that way. Alice, however, is upset about his lack of ambition and his lower class co-workers. Her nagging leads to a quarrel and she leaves Glen. She then goes to Dan and agrees to marry him if he will help Glen without his knowledge. She convinces Dan that Glen's hatred of them will goad him into becoming a success, and so Dan gets Corrigan to help them. Corrigan gets Dan a job in the district attorney's office, and eventually Glen's hard work leads him to become the district attorney himself. One night, at a ball, three prominent men ask Glen if they can announce his candidacy for governor. Glen is uncertain, as he feels the press is against him due to his association with Corrigan, and when Dan tries to assure Glen that he will support him, Glen's hatred makes him refuse to run rather than accept Dan's help. Alice begs him to run, however, telling him that he owes it to the people. Glen agrees, and while the partygoers are congratulating him, his flashback ends as he regains consciousness, and the surgeon tells him he has won the election. Glen asks to see Dan, who is severly injured, and the men reconcile before Dan dies. Now freed from his hatred, Glen reunites with Alice.