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At a party celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Evening Guardian , crusading editor Michael Cassidy is notified by the newspaper's owner, Matt Cooper, that the paper will cease publication immediately. Enraged, Michael goes to Cooper's office and accuses him of killing the Guardian so that Cooper's other paper, the scandalmongering Evening Record , can succeed. As proof of Cooper's unscrupulousness, Michael cites the sensational headlines concerning Ellen Frazier, a schoolteacher who came forward as the only eyewitness to a brutal kidnapping, but who is now being hounded mercilessly by the press. After Cooper refuses to rescind his order, Michael goes to his favorite bar, where owner Mick gives him a hundred dollar bill, which turns out to be part of the ransom in the kidnapping case. Mick received the bill from a jeweler, Charlie Daggett, and so Michael goes to Cooper to ask for help tracking the kidnappers. Cooper states that Michael can only publish the story in the Record , not the Guardian , and Michael storms out. He then goes to the school where Ellen teaches, as only she can identify the criminals. By pretending to be a lawyer, Michael spirits Ellen away from the school, where she was being held a virtual prisoner by overprotective police. She is dismayed to learn that Michael is a reporter, but he convinces her to help him and they proceed to Daggett's home. There, Michael finds out that Daggett got the bill from Dr. Lovelake's wife Lydia. While Michael's questions are disrupting the Daggett household, Ellen disappears and Michael goes on to the Lovelake home, where he learns that Dr. Lovelake received the bill from a black prizefighter, Jim Alley. Michael leaves and is surprised to see Ellen, who pretends that he is her husband in order to avoid a suspicious policeman. Michael sends her to the Guardian building to stay with his coworker, Davie Bryant, but she is kidnapped after Micheal leaves for Alley's club. At the club, Michael is shocked to find that Alley is dead, and his grieving wife Ruby explains that she got the bill from a male friend of singer Lorna Travers, for whom she is a maid. Michael finds Lorna, learns that Cooper is her suitor and, after discovering that Ellen never made it to see Davie, goes to Cooper's home. Michael informs Cooper that he knows Cooper had the bill, and Cooper admits he got it at Arno's gambling house. Michael goes to the gambling house, where Arno denies any involvement with the money. Arno sends Michael with his hoods, Alex and Kammy, to see gangsters Joe Neves and Frankie Lewis. After Michael is gone, Arno despairingly orders his brother Phil to leave, because, as the club's cashier, Phil must have been laundering the ransom money for the kidnappers. Phil maintains that he was not part of the actual kidnapping, but Arno, upset that he has protected Phil by sending his friend Michael to be murdered by Neves and Lewis, sends him away. After Arno's men throw Michael in their truck, he finds Ellen and Phil, who wishes to atone by helping them. The trio jumps from the truck and, after fighting with Alex and Kammy, succeed in capturing Neves and Lewis, although Phil is killed in the struggle. Michael and Ellen join Davie and print the story on the kidnappers in the last issue of the paper. The fantastic response to the story then prompts Cooper to revive the Guardian .