Factory worker Teresa attends night school to try and improve her life. She and teacher Gene Phillips fall in love, but her inferiority complex causes her to reject him. He moves to Alaska to teach and Teresa follows. She thinks Gene loves fellow teacher Laura but discovers he has not given up on her, and they reconcile.
Eileen and Dr. Martin Berman fall in love but can't afford to marry. Eileen is frivolous and supported financially by her older brother Steve, who overworks himself and suffers a heart attack. Eileen blames Martin for deliberately botching her brother's operation. She later repents of her accusation, which has caused Martin to quit his practice and become a lab technician. Eileen apologises to Martin and he resumes the practice of medicine, but he is unable to forget the harm she caused.
Ann; Pete Hebling; Mrs. Hebling; Mr. Hebling; Ann's mother
Cannery worker Ann is dissatisfied with her tedious life. She schemes to marry Pete Hebling, son of the cannery owner, since this will allow her to stop working. However, Pete wants to become a research botanist. Ann destroys Pete's research so he'll be forced to forget his dreams and go to work for his father. He angrily rejects her. Ann continues working in the factory, sadder but wiser.