The film tells the story of bank clerk and family man August Schiller (Jannings). While in Chicago to transport 1,000$ of securities, he is seduced by a woman who takes him to a saloon. Schiller wakes up the next morning without the securities and tries to track down the woman. Just when he has found the woman, Schiller is knocked unconcious by the saloon owner, who proceeds to take any form of Schiller's identity. Schiller recovers in time to fight the owner before a train comes and runs the owner over. The saloon owner's body is subsiquently mistaken for Schiller while the real Schiller lives without money as he picks up park trash. He evantually makes it to his old home, where he sees his son is now a violinist. His son is unaware that the old man is his father.
Although the film is lost, The Way of All Flesh was remade in 1940 by Paramount. This version on the other hand does still exist.