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Riotous celebrations erupt as the armistice for The Great War is declared. Throughout America returning soldiers joyfully embrace their women in the streets as families are reunited. For wealthy ladies-man Charlie, the end of the war means that he can resume his life of leisure. However, to ensure the continued financial support of his parents, Charlie must conceal his marriage to poor but proud sweetheart Alice. The only reason he married the naive young girl was to fully experience the physical pleasures of life before facing death in the trenches. After a wanton nightclub adventure leads to a booze-soaked car crash, Charlie abandons Alice at the hospital. Alone and pregnant with Charlie's baby, Alice seeks to rebuild her shattered life by giving her daughter away for adoption. Alice's daughter is adopted by a loving middle class family who raise the girl, now christened Carol, as their own. As an adolescent, Carol discovers that she is adopted and spirals out of control. The confused teen runs afoul of the law and finds herself appearing before a certain "Judge Alice." As long-hidden secrets and lies threaten to destroy future generations, Judge Alice advocates parental responsibility from the bench as she wrestles with suppressed feelings for a young girl who very well may be the one she gave away.

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