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With the help of a hired wife and a rented baby, career criminal Bat Williams convinces the members of the New York State parole board to grant him an early release from prison. Immediately after his release, Bat and his gang rob the Escow Creamery and kill a clerk during their getaway. Without revealing his destination, Bat leaves his gang and Grace Forbes, his hard-boiled girl friend, and goes to Barlow, New York, where his unsuspecting family happily greets him. Bat, whose real name is Bob Webster, covers up his criminal activities by telling his family and Letty Graves, his childhood sweetheart, that he is a busy globe-trotting engineer. That night, when Bat's father John, a respected school superintendent, receives a telephone call from the governor asking him to join the parole board, Bat advises him to "stay out of it." Later, Bat breaks into a jewelry store to steal a bracelet for Grace and coldbloodedly murders a guard. Before Bat returns to the city, Daniels, a tough police officer, finds Grace and, by threatening to tell Bat about her affair with gang member Al, convinces her to help lure Bat into a police trap. While in prison, Bat executes an escape that allows him to get away long enough to kill Grace and then return to his cell unnoticed. Soon after Grace's murder, Bat becomes eligible for parole and is surprised to see his father sitting on the board. Although his equally shocked father threatens to vote against granting parole, Bat reminds him that his soon-to-be-married sister Mildred would be devastated if she knew the scandalous truth. On condition that Bat "disappear" forever, a heartbroken John gives in and votes for parole. Bat, however, returns to Barlow on the eve of Mildred's wedding and plots to rob Letty's father's payroll. During the robbery, Daniels, who has been following Bat, confronts him at gunpoint, and a fight ensues. Before Bat can kill Daniels, John enters and shoots his son. Out of gratitude, Daniels drives a dying Bat out of Barlow and agrees to keep his identity a permanent secret.