Firebrand defense attorney Jeff Keane (Lionel Barrymore) runs for Senate -- and wins -- after being chastised by his sitting senator for challenging "the old order." Unfortunately, it's a triumph that leads to Keane's defeat and ruin in this timeless piece of pre-Code cynical cinema. Persuaded to run by his fellows in the Bar Association, Jeff proves a formidable foe of the corrupt forces of big business and crony politics, earning him the nickname of "the new Lincoln." But this new Lincoln is an old widower, and sinister forces set the most dangerous woman in Washington, Consuela Fairbanks (Karen Morley), in Jeff's path. Jeff quickly marries Consuela, who wastes no time in leading Jeff into political corruption, much to the dismay of Jeff's daughter, Ruth (Diane Sinclair), and Jeff's own conscience.