The MGM melodrama These Wilder Years marked the first onscreen pairing of Hollywood stars James Cagney and Barbara Stanwyck. Lonely middle-aged businessman Steve Bradford (Cagney) returns to his old town in hopes of finding the son he fathered 20 years earlier. Choosing his career over marriage and family, he got a girl pregnant and she gave the baby up for adoption. He goes to an orphanage ran by Ann Dempster (Barbara Stanwyck) to find out information about his son. They are attracted to each other, but she refuses to release the confidential files that could help him. He hires a lawyer, James Rayburn (Walter Pigeon), and proceeds to sue the adoption agency. Though he loses the case in the climactic courtroom scene, Steve ends up finding his son on his own, but he decides it's too late to forge a relationship. Instead, Ann introduces him to pregnant teenager Suzie (Betty Lou Keim), who needs his help.