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On a California-bound train, Goldie Tibbitts and her husband Herman, an ex-convict, ambush aspiring screenwriter Michael Winston, whose script-filled briefcase Goldie mistakenly believes contains $50,000 in stolen bonds. As aspiring actress Barbara Lang rushes for the train authorities to save Michael, Michael and the Tibbittses calmly agree to collaborate on a screen story that will feature Herman's former crime boss and betrayer, The Hawk. The next morning, Barbara snubs Michael as they deboard in Los Angeles, angry at his apparent deception. Unable to convince Barbara of his innocence, Michael pursues his screenwriting, crashing the office of eccentric movie mogul Hugo Wells with the Tibbittses in tow. Without hearing a word, Wells declares the trio geniuses and hires them to write their story at $2,000 per week. The subsequent popularity of the movie, which is a faithful recreation of Herman's last heist at the Austin Bank starring The Hawk look-alike, Thomas Darcy, attracts the attention of Barbara, who finally forgives and reunites with Michael. It also comes to the attention of the real Hawk, whose gangster's pride is offended by Herman's unflattering, vengeful portrait of him. At the same time, Alexander Peyton, the Austin Bank president, and private detective Decker become convinced that Michael was involved with the robbery and track him to his Hollywood home. After Goldie recognizes The Hawk and his "trigger man," Al, leaving Michael's house, she rushes to the studio to alert Herman and Michael, just as Barbara encounters Decker and Peyton. Although Barbara doubts Michael's background again, she nevertheless tries to warn him about Decker and Peyton, who are already questioning him as police surround the studio building. In the midst of the ensuing chaos, The Hawk, who is impersonating Darcy impersonating The Hawk, shoots at Herman on the set of the new "Hawk" movie, but is pursued and finally caught by Michael, who proves his innocence once and for all.