A young woman, Poppy (Gene Tierney), out for excitement in Shanghai, enters a gambling house owned by “Mother” Gin Sling (Ona Munson), a dragon-lady who worked herself up from poverty to buy the casino. Sir Guy Charteris (Walter Huston), wealthy entrepreneur, has purchased a large area of Shanghai, forcing Gin Sling to vacate by the coming Chinese New Year. Under orders from Gin Sling, who has found out Poppy is Charteris’ daughter, the smarmy Doctor Omar (Victor Mature) leads Poppy deeper and deeper into an addiction to gambling and alcohol. Gin Sling, realizing that Charteris was her long-ago husband who she thinks abandoned her, plans her revenge by inviting Charteris to a Chinese New Year dinner party to expose his past indiscretions. Charteris, however, has a surprise of his own to spring on Gin Sling.