McTeague is the son of a mine boss and an ambitious woman. After an apprenticeship to a quack, he opens a dental parlor in San Francisco where he treats patients despite his lack of credentials. He marries Trina Sieppe. She wins five thousand dollars in a lottery, but a rejected suitor of hers, Marcus Schouler, exposes McTeague's malpractice out of jealousy.
McTeague's dental practice is closed and his marriage begins to fall apart. He is brutal to Trina, who has become miserly and finally kills her for her money. He escapes to Death Valley where Schouler follows him. Schouler is killed and McTeague dies of thirst in the desert.
This report prepared by Jack Goodstein