An unusually weird and sprawling example of the "tragic single mother gives up her child, watches it grow up from afar" genre, in which the mother also becomes one of the leading lights of San Francisco's criminal underground in the '10s and '20s. And all in just 73 minutes!
By no means one of William A. Wellman's most sensitive or nuanced pre-'34 message pictures, but it has its compensations: Ruth Chatterton's staring, haggard performance chief among them (the whole cast, though, is very good). And I'll never say no to a movie that presents sensationalistic material with such matter-of-fact anti-sensationalism.
The 1906 earthquake scene is hilariously crappy (there's a city street that's clearly a painted backdrop being smacked from behind), and it's kind of wild to think that the superlative effects work in San Francisco was a mere four years in the future.