powered by AFI
Officer Shaun Madden upholds the proud traditions of the New York City police force, planning for the day that his son Dennis and adopted son Al Boylan, Jr. will also join the force. As a boy, Dennis is a belligerent troublemaker, a trait that follows him to the police academy. Upon graduation, Dennis proposes to Eileen Daly, the Irish lass whom his father rescued from the streets as a foundling. The ambitious Dennis believes that the fastest route to promotion is brute force, and this leads him to gun down a juvenile for stealing a fur pelt. The shooting earns Dennis the enmity of gangster "Piggy" Ceders, because the boy was the brother of his moll. In revenge, Piggy frames Dennis for bribery, and Dennis is sent to Sing Sing. Just as Shaun convinces Piggy to exonerate his son, Dennis escapes from the prison-bound train and goes into hiding with Eileen. Eileen, now pregnant and growing terrified of her crazed husband, returns to the Madden house, where she tells Al the location of Dennis' hideout. As Shaun goes to tell his son that Piggy has agreed to clear him, the police, alerted by the neighborhood druggist, arrive at the scene. Cornered, Dennis kills an officer and escapes, causing his father to resign from the force in disgrace. Turning into a paranoid criminal, Dennis robs a bank and then kills Piggy. Soon afterward, Eileen goes into labor, and Shaun sets a trap to lure Dennis to the hospital. Shaun's plan works but Dennis, caught between his father and a police dragnet, perishes in a hail of bullets.