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Monica Rivers, the ambitious owner and ringmaster of a traveling circus, is so determined to draw capacity crowds that when her star highwire performer is murdered during a performance, she orders her manager-partner, Dorando, to make the most of the subsequent publicity. A short time later, a young man named Frank Hawkins presents himself and demonstrates his own highwire act. Monica not only hires him but also takes him on as a lover. As business flourishes, tragedy continues to plague the circus. Late one night, Dorando is found dead; and a short time later, the drunken Matilda, who suspected Monica herself of committing the murders to gain publicity, is sawed in half by her partner, Lazlo the Illusionist. Then after Frank has forced Monica to give him a share of the profits, Monica's rebellious 16-year-old daughter, Angela, arrives with word that she has been expelled from a private school. Quickly persuading her mother to let her remain, Angela insists upon performing as the target in a knife-throwing act. When she learns of her mother's relationship with Frank, a bitter quarrel ensues. That night, while Frank is doing his act, a knife plunges into his back, and he falls to his death onto the bed of spikes. On hand is Scotland Yard Superintendent Brooks, who traps the hysterical Angela. Convinced that the circus had taken her father away from her, she committed the murders in the hope of forcing her mother to give up her career. After confessing, Angela tries to escape, trips over a wire, and is electrocuted.