An unwed woman (Purviance) leaves a charity hospital carrying her newborn son. An artist (Miller), the apparent father, is shown with the woman’s photograph. When it falls into the fireplace, he first picks it up, then throws it back in to burn up.
The woman decides to abandon her child in the back seat of an expensive automobile with a handwritten note imploring the finder to care for and love the baby. However, the car is stolen. When the two thieves discover the child, they leave him on the street. A tramp (Chaplin) finds the baby. Unwilling at first to take on the responsibility, he eventually softens and names the boy John.