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Edna marries Texan Sam Gladney, operator of a wheat mill. They have a son, who is killed when very young. Edna discovers by chance how the law treats children who are without parents and decides to do something about it. She opens a home for foundlings and orphans and begins to place children in good homes, despite the opposition of "conservative" citizens, who would condemn illegitimate children for being born out of wedlock. Eventually Edna leads a fight in the Texas legislature to remove the stigma of illegitimacy from birth records in that state, while continuing to be an advocate for homeless children.