Belle Poitrine (nee Schlumpfert) writes her autobiography with the help
of Patrick Dennis. As a child from Twin Jugs, Illinois, she lived
in poverty, but when she meets Noble Eggleston, from the "right" side of
the tracks, she decides that he is the boy for her. Noble's mother
disapproves and sends her away, while Belle and Noble profess their
love. Belle is determined to find wealth, culture and social position to
win Noble, and sets off on a journey, meeting an assortment of men who
will help her.
Her first conquest is old, rich banker Mr. Pinchley who is accidentally
killed when a gun goes off. Arrested and put on trial for murder, she
meets Benny and Bernie Buchsbaum in jail and they advise her to "Be a
Performer". Acquitted, she becomes famous and performs in vaudeville,
where she meets and romances French entertainer Val du Val, who performs
his number "Boom-Boom".
At a party during World War I she meets and marries poor-sighted soldier
Fred Poitrine, but Fred dies in a plane crash.
Belle and Val go on a ship where she meets Noble again, but Val du Val
dies by falling off the boat and forgetting how to swim. Belle sues the
boat company and becomes rich - she attains the wealth she had been
She then goes to Hollywood to become a star, with the help of Bernie and
Benny, and meets the director Otto Schnizler. As they shoot a movie Otto
shows an actor what to do with a stage knife but actually stabs himself;
She next journeys to Monte Carlo and meets Prince Cherney. When he has a
heart attack and needs his hypodermic needle Belle gives him his
fountain pen and he dies, but in gratitude he has made her "Countess
Zoftig" - she has attained social position.
Through another series of misadventures, Belle and Noble finally unite
and her story ends happily.