Silent screen star John Gilbert had a tough time adapting to the talkies--not due to his voice, as is commonly believed, but because his type of florid romantic fare was no longer popular. Gentleman's Fate attempted to alter Gilbert's image by casting him as a bootlegger...albeit a reluctant one. A wealthy socialite, Gilbert learns to his chagrin that he has been financed by his supposedly dead father (Ernest Torrence), a notorious rum runner. Ruined socially, Gilbert joins the rackets himself, vying with his brother (Louis Wolheim) for control of the bootlegging territory. The love of a good woman (Leila Hyams) leads Gilbert to attempt to break up the racket, but he loses his life in the process.