The remarkable story of Billy Byrne, the vicious, hardened Chicago thug and ruffian who, answering to the magical touch of a great love, gradually changed his entire point of view, ethical standards, and character, until from fear and loathing the beautiful Barbara Harding, daughter of a New York millionaire, came to trust and at last to love him. In the end, Billy, believing the gulf between "Grand Avenue and Riverside Drive" was too wide to be bridged even by love itself, refused to marry Barbara, and left her. When the present story opens over a year has elapsed and Byrne finds himself in further scrapes in revolutionary Mexico.
BILLY BYRNE squared his broad shoulders and filled his deep lungs with the familiar medium which is known as air in Chicago. He was standing upon the platform of a New York Central train that was pulling into the La Salle Street Station, and though the young man was far from happy something in the nature of content pervaded his being, for he was coming home. After something more than a year of world wandering and strange adventure Billy Byrne was coming back to the great West Side and Grand Avenue. Now there is not much upon either side or down the center of long and tortuous Grand Avenue to arouse enthusiasm, nor was Billy particularly enthusiastic about that more or less squalid thoroughfare.