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Animal trainer Cliff Ballenger is determined to gain mastery over "Satan," a man-eating tiger. One night, after he has spent the evening drinking with aerialist Joe Larson, his best friend, Satan breaks loose, and a drunken Cliff must drive him back into his cage. Upon his return to the circus, his roommate, Carl Homan, lectures Cliff about working the big cats when he is drunk. Cliff insists that he can work the animals drunk or sober and goes out to Satan's cage to prove it. When Satan attacks Cliff, Carl tries to save him and is killed in the process, while Cliff loses his leg. Filled with remorse over Carl's death, Cliff looks for Carl's daughter Laura and finally learns that she has been jailed for stealing food. Cliff buys a small house and, when Laura leaves jail, proposes to her. Although she is not in love with Cliff, she agrees to marriage out of gratitude. The day of their wedding, Cliff brings Joe home and Laura falls in love with him. After she reveals her love to Joe, he insists that they cannot hurt Cliff. Joe decides to leave town, but before he can go, they learn that the winter quarters of the circus are on fire and the animals are in danger. At great risk, Cliff rescues Satan with Joe's help. After Joe is knocked out, Cliff saves him, insisting that he stay at his house to recuperate. Joe recovers and Laura begs him to take her away with him. Cliff comes home to find them kissing, and knocks Joe out and throws him into the tiger's cage. When Laura begs Cliff to save Joe because she loves him, Cliff does and finally meets his death in Satan's jaws.