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In a small Southern California city, bank robber Jack Martin, who caused the death of two policemen while escaping from police custody, hides out in a small hotel, planning his next job. Seeing a sign on the United States National Bank indicating that there is office space available, Jack poses as a prospective tenant and learns that the bank has no security system but relies solely on its time-locked vault. Later, Jack calls police headquarters and, pretending to be with a film company, asks for some police officers to appear in the movie they are shooting at the National Bank. The next morning, Jack calls the bank's manager, Palmer, to report a break-in at the bank. He then tells the enthusiastic police officers that he is filming a bank robbery and that Palmer, who has long been a frustrated actor, will soon drive up and act as if he is very agitated about a robbery. When Palmer arrives, the police think he is acting out his part and tell him to go inside, just as Jack had directed. Once inside, Palmer soon realizes that Jack is a real bank robber. At eight o'clock, Jack forces Palmer to open the time-locked vault, as usual, and steals a large sack of money. He then locks Palmer inside before exiting the bank in front as the unwitting policemen look on. After the robbery is reported, local gang leader Earl Dawson is furious and orders one his lieutenants, Adolph, to find out who the thief is because the police are blaming the robbery on them. A short time later, two of Dawson's henchmen go to the racetrack, certain that Jack will be there to launder the marked bills from the bank robbery. They locate Jack and start to chase him, but Jack escapes into the parking lot, where he hijacks a car. After eluding the henchmen on the highway, Jack doubles back into town and walks into the local public library. There he flirts with librarian Carol Logan, telling her that he is a bank robber on his way to Mexicali but also does odd jobs. After she coolly offers him work at her citrus grove outside town, he leaves the library, obscuring his face with a large stack of books to avoid Dawson's henchmen. Some time later, Jack is working for Carol, as well as having an affair with her, unaware that Dawson's men are in town posing as FBI agents, hoping to find him. When they get a lead, they wait outside the grove, observing Jack while Carol goes to the post office, where she sees Jack's picture on a wanted poster. While she is gone, the two henchmen capture Jack and start to beat him, demanding to know where the loot is. After Jack pretends to pass out, he is able to overpower and kill one of the men and escape. The other henchman reports this to Dawson, who suspects that his two underlings were trying to get the money for themselves, and shoots the second one. Meanwhile, Carol has come back home and is dressing Jack's wounds. When Jack starts to confess what he has done, she says that she knows but asks "What have the police got to do with us?," then kisses him. A short time later, Dawson drives up to the house and, after identifying himself, tells Jack that he wants him to work for his organization. Although reluctant to relinquish his independence, Jack agrees to the plan when Dawson assures him that his first job will net him $35,000 and that the law will never touch him because of Dawson's influence. After Dawson leaves, Carol tells Jack she wants to go with him. Soon, with Dawson's help Jack commits large robberies from Seattle to San Diego. The police are unable to catch him, even though Jack has killed two more people during one of the robberies. His next job, which Dawson says is worth $500,000, is to rob the safe at the Meadow Lark Country Club, where the Gordon Bookmaking Syndicate will be storing cash to cover bets placed over a weekend marked by major sporting events. With Jack posing as a golfer and Adolph a furniture deliveryman, they are able to steal the club's safe but the robbery is reported so quickly that the police set up a roadblock for the delivery truck used in the theft. After the truck stops, a shootout ensues between police and Jack and Adolph's gang, during which men on both sides are killed. Jack is able to escape but waits for Adolph before driving off. As they flee, Adolph thanks Jack and tells him he will not forget his help. The next morning, Carol tells Jack that she is leaving because she can no longer deal with the fact that he is a murderer. After telling her that he loves and needs her, Jack promises to give up his career if she will come with him to Mexico. She agrees to go with him if he tells Dawson that day that he is quitting. Later, Dawson tries to talk Jack out of leaving, even promising to split their next job fifty-fifty, but Jack is adamant. Although they shake hands before Jack departs, immediately after, Dawson tells Adolph to call the FBI. Adolph suggests that he could "take care" of Jack, but Dawson insists on letting the FBI handle Jack. After calling in an anonymous tip to the FBI, Adolph quickly calls Jack to warn him. Jack quickly drives away with Carol, but tells her to take him to Dawson's house, then meet him later in Mexicali. Meanwhile, Dawson has called the police to ask them to come to his house. Moments later, Jack enters the house and confronts Dawson. Although Dawson tries to negotiate, Jack refuses, saying that in the field he takes care of his men, like Adolph, who appreciate it and pay him back. Just then, the police storm Dawson's house and a shootout ensues in which both Dawson and Jack are killed. A short time later, as she is driving toward the Mexican border, Carol is listening to the radio in the car and hears a news report that Jack has been killed in the shootout. She then turns her car around.