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During a five-minute intermission between shows, Jackie Wales slips away from his date at a Los Angeles movie theater and climbs into a waiting car. As he rides with a man named Armitage to a nearby house, Jackie changes into a messenger boy outfit, then shoots and kills well-to-do businessman Arthur Mansfield as he stands in his doorway. Jackie's sprint back to the car is witnessed by Mansfield's daughter Laura, who later picks Jackie out of a police lineup. Although Laura is unable to positively identify Jackie, she complains when police lieutenant Brewster releases him. Convinced that Brewster is not doing enough to find her father's killer, Laura undertakes to investigate Jackie herself. After striking up a friendly conversation with Jackie outside the police station, Laura accepts a ride home with him. She then watches him hurdle over her front gate as he did after shooting her father and feels sure that he is the killer. Laura telephones Brewster with her deduction, but to her annoyance, the lieutenant downplays its significance. Continuing her investigation, Laura begins to date the unsuspecting Jackie, who lavishly spends all of his ill-gotten money on her. When Jackie's $1,500 casino debt comes due, he goes to the Vogue nightclub to "call in" a favor from Armitage. While Laura waits outside for him, Jackie demands $2,000 from Armitage, the club's brutish owner. Armitage, however, refuses to be blackmailed and, while club manager Stretch Norton turns up the volume on a player-piano, beats Jackie with a belt. Suspecting that Armitage is involved with her father's murder, Laura returns to the club the next day and, calling herself Laura Ashton, asks Stretch for a job. Stretch is attracted to Laura and hires her as a cigarette girl, to the dismay of Alice Wentworth, Armitage's inconstant, ambitious girl friend. Stretch then suggests to Armitage that they kill the interloping Jackie, making his death look like a suicide and implicating him as an accomplice of Frank Niles, Mansfield's business rival, who has been arrested for his murder. Before Armitage can carry out the plan, however, Alice goes to Jackie and convinces him to write a confessional letter to use as leverage against Armitage. In exchange for keeping the letter safe, Alice is to receive fifty percent of Jackie's blackmail money. As directed by Alice, Jackie returns to the Vogue and informs Armitage about his confession. After Armitage pays Jackie $5,000, Stretch suggests that Alice seduce the messenger and retrieve his confession. Later, Alice sees Jackie with Laura, and when Jackie, who knows nothing about Laura's job at the Vogue, brags that he is dating his victim's daughter, Alice deduces Laura's true intentions. Alice then meets Stretch at his apartment, handing him Jackie's letter and suggesting that they enter into their own blackmail scheme. After Stretch burns Jackie's confession, however, Armitage suddenly appears and murders Alice as the player-piano is running. Later, Brewster tells Laura that Jackie, whom the police had been following, was found dead, an apparent suicide victim. Brewster also reveals his suspicions about Armitage, but tries to discourage Laura from pursuing him on her own. Ignoring Brewster's advice, Laura begins dating Stretch to get to Armitage, unaware that the thug is only a front for Stretch, the real owner of the Vogue. Soon, however, Laura finds herself falling in love with Stretch and, after he proposes marriage, reveals her identity and asks him to help bring Armitage to justice. Anxious to please Laura, Stretch decides to implicate Armitage in Mansfield's murder by writing his own version of Jackie's confession and then killing him. While Laura waits in an adjoining room, Stretch pretends that he is being shot by Armitage and then allows a terrified Laura to shoot the drugged, half-conscious thug in apparent self-defense. Later, Brewster tells Laura that Stretch is now under suspicion and asks her and Niles, whom they have released from jail, to help resolve the matter. Following Brewster's directions, a gun-wielding Niles goes to Stretch and announces that he is "taking over" Armitage's territory. Unaware that the police have placed listening devices in his office, Stretch tells Niles that he is the true boss and offers to become his partner. Laura then enters the office, revealing that their conversation is being recorded. Desperate, Stretch grabs Niles's gun and tries to take Laura hostage, but is soon gunned down by the police. Later, Laura apologizes to Brewster for doubting the police and is commended for her bravery.