powered by AFI
On Christmas Eve, Pat McGinnis breaks into a store to steal a fur coat for his girl friend, Molly Sullivan. Surprised by watchman Michael O'Keefe, McGinnis knocks the man out, steals his gun and, while making a getaway, shoots and kills a policeman. McGinnis then cunningly has himself committed to jail on a minor offense, thus establishing an alibi in case he is implicated in the murder. A year later, Michael is arrested for drunkenness, and when his fingerprints match those found on the gun, he is charged with the policeman's murder and sentenced to die. Meanwhile, Father Loma, O'Keefe's parish priest, befriends McGinnis at the prison camp. He brings Molly to visit and recommends the rehabilitated prisoner for parole. On the day that his request for parole is denied, McGinnis is injured during a quarrel in the prison yard, and thinking that he is dying, confesses the murder to Father Loma, who saves the convict's life with a transfusion of his own blood. Impressed by the priest's loyalty to the convict, the board grants McGinnis his parole, and upon recovering, he leaves prison a free man. As Michael awaits the day of his execution, Father Loma, bound by his oath to keep McGinnis' secret, hounds the ex-convict to confess to the murder. In frustration, McGinnis strikes out at the priest, leaving him near death. Tormented by his guilt, McGinnis finally confesses to the police at the ailing priest's bedside.