In the early twentieth century, happy-go-lucky Pearl White, working as a seamstress in a costume shop, is always distracted and more interested in becoming an entertainer, most specifically an actress. She gets her wish when she gets an impromptu introduction to a second rate traveling theater troupe called the Farrington Players, headed by its lead actor Mike Farrington who reluctantly offers her a job. She quickly befriends other troupe members, such as Timmy Timmons and Julia Gibbs, but Pearl's less than subtle nature continually irks Mike, as it does not mesh with the serious nature of their productions. But that does not stop Pearl from falling in love with Mike, and in time Mike falling in love with Pearl. Despite her fellow thespians not considering it acting, Pearl, with Julia at her side, gets a lucrative job acting in movies, where her broad style is more well suited. Pearl becomes one of the most famous movie actresses of her time, specifically in the serial The Perils of Pauline (1914), where the lead character, played by Pearl, is always in physical danger, much like Pearl always is in doing many of her own stunts. As the professional fortunes of Pearl and Mike rise and fall, generally in opposite directions at any given point in time, they have to decide if their love for each other can overcome being in the other's shadow.