An elegant evening soiree in Weimar Berlin: a guest is nervously pacing among the staff. In an attempt to escape persecution by the police, he offers waiter Jean to swap roles; in exchange for his simple black tie, he will receive the elegant white one, plus 1000 marks and the guest’s tombola ticket. Jean cannot believe his luck. Just as his transformation into a gentleman is complete, his ticket wins a trip to New York. A rich American, Mabel, is intrigued by the stranger’s fortune and demands to be shown seedy Berlin nightlife before her return home. Jean takes her to his local bar, where he intends to bid farewell to his girlfriend Trude. When Trude is all but impressed with his “great chance”, Jean hands over his 1000 marks as a goodbye present, and leaves.
The next morning: the ocean liner is headed for America. On board are Jean and Mabel as well as Trude, who has invested all of the money in a one-way ticket to follow Jean secretly. On the lower deck, she encounters solicitor Bannermann, who is travelling in search of an anonymous heir of several million dollars. Upon their arrival in New York, Trude gets on Jean’s tracks, who accompanies Mabel to a party at her aunt Mrs. Robinson – a meat magnate residing in Chicago. Meanwhile, Bannermann makes a sensational discovery at his firm’s headquarters: the heir is nobody else but Trude. Hastily, he departs for Chicago to find her. At Mrs. Robinson’s, the party is in full swing until the district’s puritan senator arrives and threats the host with ruinous sanctions. Enter Jean, who recognises the politician as a former customer with certain unspeakable preferences. He blackmails the intruder into letting the party continue and is celebrated as the star of the evening.
The morning after: Jean feels overwhelmed by his hosts’ plan to make him their respective husband. He yearns for home – and Trude. Little does he know that she is on her way to the palace after an eventful train ride that reunited her with Bannerman. When a group of businessmen attempt to bedazzle him into signing shady deals, Jean loses his temper. He offers an unsuspected member of Mrs. Robinson’s staff to swap ties for 1000 marks, turning himself back into a waiter. Trude arrives, now a millionaire. In a bidding war for Jean’s hand, she outbids Mabel and Mrs. Robinson, only to find out that the acquired husband has left. On the ship back to Europe, Jean joins all kinds of people that leave the “land of promise” disillusioned. Will he find his happy end back in Berlin?