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In the late 1890s, New Englander Sally Warren arrives in the Barbary Coast district of San Francisco in search of her long-lost brother John. An innocent surrounded by wolves, she soon has her purse stolen, but Dude Forante, the owner of the First Dollar saloon, recovers it for her. Dude's rival for control of the Barbary Coast is Rio Jordan, who works his rackets from the comfort of the Whosoever Mission. Rio tries to force Dude to use his protection services, but the saloon owner refuses and warns him that the police, led by Dan Martin, are looking to crack down on the crime in their district. Ignoring Dude's warning, Rio sends his gang to the First Dollar to tear up the place, and everyone ends up in jail. Although Dude refuses to give the inexperienced Sally a job, Mickey Finn, the First Dollar's headliner, makes her a singer in the show, and she is a big hit. Dude is so taken by her performance that he gives her a diamond ring, which Sally recognizes as her brother's. After showing the ring to the police, Dan takes Sally to the Whosoever Mission, where the usually selfish Rio surprises Dan by offering to help Sally. An ex-Sunday school teacher, Sally is soon working days in the mission, while entertaining at the First Dollar and being romanced by Dude at night. Later, Rio suggests to his rival that they start a legitimate partnership, but stipulates that Dude must first end his relationship with Sally. When Dude refuses, Rio convinces Doc, an alcoholic physician, to lie to Sally that Dude killed her brother. Dude later takes Sally to his ranch to propose marriage, but when she asks him whether he killed her brother, Dude refuses to answer and silently returns her to town. At the mission on Christmas Eve, Sally tells Doc that the only thing she recalls about her brother are the scars on his right arm, the result of a childhood injury. Having lost his love and now framed for murder, Dude is about to shoot it out with Rio when Sally returns to the First Dollar and proclaims her love to him in song. Rio then gathers his men and attacks the First Dollar, and in the ensuing mêlée, Doc exposes Rio's scarred right arm, proving that he is Sally's missing brother. Still enraged, Rio is about to shoot Dude when Sally tells him that she and the saloon keeper have just been married. The news quells the fight, and peace is restored moments before Dan and his police force arrive.