The father of a working class family is having trouble finding a job, because the local textile mill is hiring only inexpensive child labor. Reluctantly, he allows his oldest daughter to work in the mill. Meanwhile, in New York, the wealthy businessman Hanscomb is being urged to speak out against child labor, but he declines to do so. Then, while Mrs. Hanscomb and her daughter are traveling, the young girl accidentally wanders away, gets lost, and is taken in by the working class family. To help them, she takes a job in the mill. While this is taking place, Hanscomb has initiated a search for the daughter even as he goes about building up his financial empire.