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Test pilot Jeff Nolan lands a plane after several hours aloft and finds England a grotesque panorama of death, with the population frozen into interrupted gestures, all dead by some unknown horror. Unable to elicit any shortwave response, Jeff is confronted by pistol-brandishing Quinn Taggett, who with his wife, Peggy, has survived the mysterious calamity in a hospital room. Together, the three explore the ruins and uncover two more survivors, Edgar Otis and Violet Courtland, who were saved by the purified atmosphere in a nearby chemical factory. The group is suddenly attacked by two menacing, dome-lidded robots who march relentlessly toward the earthlings, impervious to their gunfire. They all flee except Violet, who tries to communicate with the robots and is killed instantly by their touch. The survivors retreat to a hotel and are joined by Mel and his pregnant wife, Lorna. That night Violet, in a zombie-like trance, kills Quinn; her behavior leads Jeff to suspect that the menace is controlled by an outside source. He and Mel depart in search of a transmitting station, leaving Edgar with Peggy and Lorna, who delivers a healthy baby in their absence. When two robots burst into the room and menacingly approach the child, all appears lost until they suddenly collapse on the floor, inches away from their intended victims--Mel and Jeff have succeeded in destroying the transmitting station. The group is reunited, and the baby sleeps peacefully as the survivors plan to search for other survivors.