Hearts and Spangles stars Wanda Hawley, formerly the "baby vamp" of the pre-1920s, as a gorgeous circus bareback rider. College boy Steve Carris (Robert Gordon) falls in love with circus equestrienne Peg Palmer (Wanda Hawley), but his wealthy parents disapprove. So, Steve chucks wealth and prestige and joins the circus, where he becomes "King of the Clowns" (and never mind that he couldn't raise a chuckle to save his life). The hero eventually rescues Peg from evil ringmaster Rex Barclay (George Cheseboro), who is so mean that he uses a whip on the poor girl whenever her performance isn't up to par. Diminutive Frankie Darro, a real-life child acrobat, steals the show.