Edward Forbes, a mechanic, has been up against a siege of bad luck. Out of work, with his little child dangerously ill, his home is indeed a house of despair. As a last resort he writes a note and goes with it to Mr. Henry Brainard, a wealthy merchant, applying for some employment no matter how humble or meager the pay. It would at least relieve in a measure his anxiety and help to meet his obligations. Mr. Brainard, however, though kindly disposed, has nothing to offer, as Forbes has made it clear that he doesn't seek charity, but work, and bearing a reputation for honesty and conscientiousness, Brainard is grieved to have to turn him away. Back to his home Forbes goes in the extreme of despondency. The sight of his sick child and his woe-stricken wife fairly turns his brain, and induces in his mind thoughts he never entertained in all his life before, robbery. Quite beside himself he makes his way back to Brainard's house, and being now late at night, effects an entrance easily and from a desk drawer secures articles of jewelry. Returning home, his wife is amazed at his story and recalling him to his better self, compels him to take back the loot. This he does, entering the house as easily as before, and putting the trinkets back into the drawer. Unfortunately, Brainard is aroused and apprehends him before he has time to escape, and hands him over to a policeman, who happens to be an old friend of Forbes. The officers on the way to the station allow him to go and say good-bye to his wife. Learning the true nature of the affair, the officer steps into the hallway ostensibly to allow them to say good-bye alone, but in reality to dispatch his brother officer to Brainard's to induce him to be merciful. While alone with his wife Forbes picks up a pistol that had dropped from the officer's pocket and is about to resort to desperate means to wipe out his disgrace, when the officers enter with Brainard who not only withdraws the charge, but lends material aid to the poor family.