In varying degrees of undress, the chorus girls of the “Frolics of 1929” gossip that the show’s rich backer, brokerage head Craig Cutting, has “given the gate” to his mistress Aileen, one of the dancers, in preference to Antoinette “Tony” Landers, a dancer described as “a nice kid from a nice home.” As the girls chat, Tony is being seduced by her boyfriend, Bob North, the scion of a wealthy family, in the empty stadium at Yale, where he goes to college. Sometime later, as Tony prepares to go to her social debut at Craig’s party, Aileen confuses and upsets her with taunts about Craig’s “dividend checks” and “technique.” At the party, Tony learns that the dividend checks Craig has been giving her have not come, as she supposed, from the bonds her mother left her, but instead directly from Craig. She rebukes him for putting her in a position of obligation to him and refuses to succumb to his “technique” after he denies that he expects anything in return. Just then, Bob, whose suspicions have been fueled by Aileen, arrives and, after revealing that Tony is his wife, slaps her face with the cancelled checks, calls her a “dirty little tramp” and leaves. Tony confesses to Craig that she kept the marriage secret so that Bob would not be kicked out of college. When she asks Craig to help straighten out the situation, he refuses to interfere.
Craig is named as a corespondent in the divorce proceedings, and when he offers Tony a lawyer to contest the suit so that he can avoid a scandal, she coldly refuses, having become convinced by the show’s producer and press agent that she should cash in on the publicity. Over the next four years, Tony becomes the star of the “Frolics.” One night after a show, she meets Craig and after dining with him, lets him think she is heading off for a weekend rendezvous with a mysterious stranger called “Big Fella,” with whom gossip has connected her. After leaving Craig, Tony takes a taxi to a modest uptown apartment where she gets into bed with Big Fella, her four-year-old son. Later, Bob, who needs $15,000 to cover a phony check, sees Tony at a club. After she refuses to give him any money, he and an underworld colleague follow her to the uptown apartment and see the child. Terrified that Bob’s intolerant father will start court proceedings to take the child, Tony goes for help to Craig, for whom she has developed a fondness. He arranges to send her and her son to Europe, but Bob gets the boy first. At the trial, Bob’s lawyer convinces the judge to award the boy to Bob because of Tony’s unsavory reputation, but Tony blurts out that Bob is not the father. After a nod from Craig, she testifies untruthfully that he is the father. The trial ends as Bob’s lawyer asks for a dismissal, and Craig tells Tony, who embraces her son, that he understands.