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Early one morning, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies rush to an apartment building near the Sunset Strip, where they find Jane Tafford unconscious from a bullet wound to her shoulder. Jane's body was found by neighbor Paulette Ardrey, who reveals the identity of a man in one of Jane's photographs. A short time later, detectives from the sheriff's office arrive at the home of Delwyn "Sonny" Johnson and find him shot to death. Deputies then go to see Stanley Maxton, the man Paulette identified, and take him to headquarters. Lt. Detective Bonnabel questions Stan about the shootings, and he reveals that Jane had been his girl until she started seeing Sonny, who used to be his boss. He then tells Bonnabel about Sonny: Following military service in Korea, Stan is released from a Kansas veteran's hospital and heads to Los Angeles to work as a drummer. On the way, his car is hit by Sonny, who pays for the damages and, in Los Angeles, offers Stan a job as a phone man at his bookie joint. One day, deputies raid the place, but Stan gets away by sneaking out a window and running onto the Strip. He then talks his way into a car driven by Jane, who tells him that she is a dancer at Fluff's Dixieland nightclub. One night, Sonny goes to Fluff's and meets Jane again. He is infatuated with her and after closing time asks her out. Jane, who only wants to date men who can help her aspiring acting career, asks the kindly Fluff to say that he does not approve of Stan, but Fluff is so impressed when he sees Stan's drumming that he offers him a job. Although flattered, Stan declines, saying that he has a high-paying position in an insurance company. Encouraged by Fluff, who needs Stan to replace the club's recently drafted drummer, Jane lets Stan take her home and says that they could see each other often if he worked at Fluff's. Stan is reluctant at first, because Sonny pays him a lot, but decides that Jane, and the chance to work as a drummer, are more important. Sonny agrees to let Stan quit, and gives him money, but warns him to forget everything. Fluff is happy to have Stan at the club, but is concerned that he is going to be hurt by Jane's ambition. One afternoon, Stan goes to see Jane after buying her a new hat. While he is at her apartment, Paulette drops by and asks Jane to babysit her son Artie while she goes to an audition. Stan has bragged that he has a friend who might have connections in the movie industry, so Jane urges him to introduce her. As the three drive to Sonny's, they are involved in a minor accident when the unruly Artie steps on the car accelerator. Stan is happy that Sonny is impressed with Jane, but points out that she is his girl. At dinner that night, Stan talks to Jane about their future and she realizes that he is proposing. She thanks him for his help, but tells him that becoming a star is the most important thing in her life. Stan soon becomes a hit at Fluff's nightclub, but becomes jealous when he realizes that Jane is seeing a lot of Sonny. Against Fluff's good advice, Stan starts to follow Sonny and Jane, until one morning when he is visited by Baer and Boynton, Sonny's henchmen. They offer him money and say that Sonny wants him to head his Phoenix office right away. Stan declines, but is frightened enough to tell Fluff he is quitting. Fluff counsels Stan to stand up to Sonny, or risk having a life of fear, so he goes to Sonny and threatens to tell everything to the police. Stan then rushes to Jane's apartment, but when he arrives, only Baer and Boynton are waiting for him. They hit Stan, then take him for a ride. During the drive, as Stan remembers Artie's prank, he steps on the accelerator and causes an accident that enables him to get away. He then goes to Fluff's to warn Jane and tell her that he has to leave town. Although Jane does not love Stan, she feels responsible for his problems and promises to straighten things out with Sonny. As Stan ends his story, he tells Bonnabel that he remained at Fluff's, then went home shortly before the deputies arrived that morning. Just then, Bonnabel receives a phone call from the hospital. Although the doctor tells him that Jane is still alive, but has not regained consciousness, Bonnabel tells Stan that Jane has confessed to Sonny's murder. An agitated Stan then says that it was he who killed Sonny. Bonnabel goes to Fluff, who is unaware of what has happened, but corroborates Stan's original story. Later that afternoon, Bonnabel shows Stan Jane's signed statement revealing that she shot Sonny in self-defense, and tells him that he is free to go. When Stan asks about Jane, Bonnabel reveals that she did wake up and give a confession, but died a short time later. He then accompanies Stan to Fluff's, where everyone is happy to see Stan take his place onstage.