Anna I sets the scene, explaining the relationship between her and Anna II (that they are actually one person) and their task — to travel and make enough money for their family back in Louisiana to build a little house on the Mississippi River.
Anna’s parents note that she has always been lazy. The family say a prayer that God will keep Anna on the path that leads to prosperity and happiness.
Anna I and Anna II arrive in Memphis and find a job as a cabaret dancer. Anna II tries to turn it into an art, but is scolded by Anna I, as that is not what the paying customers are after and she must give up her pride to give them what they want…
Anna I and Anna II are now in Los Angeles. Anna II witnesses acts of cruelty and rebels against injustice, but Anna I reminds her that such anger will make her unemployable, so she must set it aside.
The family has a letter from Anna in Philadelphia. Anna’s contract specifies that she may not gain any weight. They recall that she loves to eat but trust her to remember that a contract is a contract.
In Boston, Anna I and Anna II have attracted a wealthy admirer, but Anna II loves another man, who is poor. Anna I points out that the rich lover will not tolerate divided loyalty, and that they need the money. Anna II rebels, but reluctantly gives in.
The family learns that Anna is in Baltimore. Men are committing suicide over her, which will increase her earning power, but they fear she will get too greedy. They hope she will not make herself too unpopular to earn money.
In San Francisco, Anna II is worn out and envious of those who do not have to work hard. Anna I preaches of the need to renounce pleasure and promises a reward to come. The family agree, saying that strict self control is the path to glory.
Anna I and Anna II return to Louisiana after seven years. The house is complete.