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When Frank Ross, reporter for the Bantom newspaper, exposes District Attorney Jesse Hanley's involvement in graft, Hanley frames Ross on a drunk driving charge. Knocked unconscious and doused with alcohol, Ross is placed in a moving car, and when the car crashes into another vehicle and kills three people, he is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison. There, Ross meets "Hood" Stacey, a notorious racketeer who is serving a life term, and the two become friends. Stacey makes a deal with Ross to implicate him in a prison killing, which would then be tried at the county courthouse where his mob can free him. In return, Stacey promises to track down the man who framed Ross. The break is successful, but Stacey feels betrayed when Ross tips off his reporter friends about the escape, and consequently, he refuses to help Ross. As Ross is sentenced to the "hole", his sweetheart, Joyce Conover, makes Stacey realize that Ross kept his word, thus winning Stacey's sympathy for the unjustly accused reporter. In the hole, Ross becomes embittered at the brutality of the guards and lack of justice, but Joyce pleads on his behalf with the warden, who then agrees to recommend him for parole. However, the parole board is headed by Hanley's man, Grayce, who takes great satisfaction in denying the reporter his freedom. Meanwhile, Stacey discovers that Polecat Carlisle, the man hired by Hanley to frame Ross, is in prison, and to repay his debt to Ross, Stacey returns to prison to find Polecat. During an abortive jail break, Stacey forces Polecat to confess to Ross's crime in front of the warden. Stacey dies in the break attempt, but Ross lives to be exonerated and to see Hanley and Grayce indicted.