A prologue shows an alchemist about to be burned at the stake. Before dying, he claims that his theory is correct: in an effort to overcome external conditions, man develops his character. In modern times, Harry Thorn loves Grace Dupont, but after losing his money he drifts toward crime. He steals a necklace, and when Grace finds out she cancels their engagement. Harry decides to give himself up, thereby finally establishing some strength of character. When he gets out of jail, Grace takes him back, but Harry has to face one more temptation. Alice Farley, who loves him but whom he has spurned, tries to lure him back to crime, but with Grace's help Harry manages to resist.
The working title of this film was The Transmutation; or The Making of a Man.