Set in New York City during the Christmas shopping rush, Lee Leander (Barbara Stanwyck), a classy lady wearing a fur coat and gloves, manages to purposely walk out of a store with a diamond bracelet. After heading to another one to possibly do some more shoplifting, she is recognized by the owner and kept there until the police arrive. Lee goes on trial defended by Francis X. O'Leary (Willard Robertson), with John Sargent (Fred MacMurray) as an assistant district attorney whose job is to send this third time offender to prison. Because it's Christmas Eve, the case gets postponed until January 3rd. Feeling sorry for Lee for having to spend Christmas in jail until her case comes up again, John arranges to have her bailed out. Because she has no place to go, John, learning that she is originally from Indiana, his home state, and since he is planning to drive home to spend Christmas with his family, agrees to take Lee with him and leave her at her mother's house, and pick her up again on his way back to New York. After John witnesses Lee's mother's (Georgia Caine) cold-hearted reception toward her daughter, who has never forgiven her for her past misdeeds, he decides to take her with him to spend the holidays with his family. Upon meeting John's mother, Sarah (Beulah Bond), his aunt, Emma (Elizabeth Patterson), and their farmhand, Willie Sims (Sterling Holloway), Lee is greeted like one of the family, which changes this hard boiled dame after being given a real Christmas she never had, and learning a lesson of humility. On top of that, she starts to fall in love with John, in spite of a trial awaiting her upon her return to New York.
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