Salome is a gritty portrait of life on the Lower East Side of New York City in the early 1900s. Wealthy philanthropists devoted to the settlement house movement make plans to eradicate poverty and to erase the more unsettling signs of foreigness found among the immigrant poor. Sonya Vrunsky is poor, smart, and beautiful. She hates being patronized and she craves the pleasure that money does buy. When the Yiddish newspaper she works for sends her off to interview a philanthropist, she decides she will marry him.