Betrayed by his wife and by a friend who steals his research data, a scientist abandons his former life and joins a circus as a clown. He falls in love with a young acrobat.
Sjöström’s second American film is notable for the inclusion of Lon Chaney, who plays one of his greatest roles. As is often the case, the actor plays a humiliated individual who revisits his trauma to the point of madness. Sjöström once again uses double exposures to represent visions of his foe.