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Hal Wilson, a prison inmate serving a sentence for murder, is aided by his former associates in a jailbreak. After their escape, Wilson and his cohorts are sought by the police. The fugitives take refuge in the home of Dr. Shelby, a professor of psychology, while he and his wife Doris are entertaining dinner guests Linda and George Curtis and Dick Holbrook. After the fugitives force everyone, including the Shelby's young son Davy and their two housekeepers, into the basement, they wait for their getaway boat to arrive. When Fred Landis, a young student of Dr. Shelby, shows up to bid the Shelbys farewell before leaving on a trip, he soon realizes what is afoot and challenges one of the gunmen to a fistfight. Fred flattens the gunman, but when he challenges Wilson, Wilson shoots and kills him. Determined to save his family and guests, Dr. Shelby decides to use a psychological offensive to disarm Wilson. Wilson agrees to undergo an impromptu treatment after the doctor proves his expertise by accurately diagnosing that the paralysis in one of his hands is the result of a childhood trauma. Dr. Shelby then manages to extract a confession from Wilson that his mother molested him, and that he murdered his father. Having found the source of Wilson's grief and anxiety, Dr. Shelby tells Wilson that he no will longer be living in a psychological "blind alley" because he has been cured through the process of catharsis, and that henceforth he will be unable to shoot another man because he will imagine his father to be the victim. When the police surround the house and demand that Wilson surrender, Wilson tries to fire at an officer, but is unable to pull the trigger. At that moment, Wilson is shot by an officer and killed.