1914: The assistants of cobbler Lehmann compete for the affections of his daughter Frieda. Actually she’s in love with her ambitious cousin Fritz, but the cunning Franz knows how to charm her. When Fritz gets drafted, Frieda gives in and marries Franz. Soon Fritz is declared missing and the old cobbler dies of grief. Along the way Franz, who dodged the military service, earns his money with large-scale racketeering. Frieda is miserable. But then Fritz returns from Soviet captivity, prompting Frieda to divorce Franz. Finally Frieda receives an inheritance from the USA, marries Fritz and together they start a shoe store.