powered by AFI
A series of bank robberies committed by the River Gang plagues the Midwest and stumps the FBI. Meanwhile, at a federal penitentiary, tough guy Jeff Crane is placed in the same cell as Sonny Black, a suspected member of the gang. After Jeff stoically survives a three-week stay in solitary confinement for inciting a riot, he gains Sonny's grudging respect and tells him about his plan for a jailbreak. With smuggled guns, the two escape, but Sonny is badly wounded. Several days later, Jeff, who is an undercover agent, arrives at the FBI field office in Chicago and tells his superior, Jim Duff, that Sonny still does not trust him enough to discuss the gang. When Jeff returns to their hideout, Sonny, who has just killed "Moose," a black ex-convict who was helping them, orders him to drive them out of town to a large house he owns. Jeff then is ordered to bring back alcoholic mob physician Dr. Josiah Glass. In a rainstorm, Jeff accidentally collides with a bus, then refuses to give a ride to passenger Maria Theresa O'Reilly, who sneaks into the back of his car. By the time they reach the house, Jeff has learned that Terry is Sonny's sister. Doc saves Sonny's life, and after the recovery, Jeff secretly goes to Jim and tells him that the gang is planning a job. Although he still does not know many details, Jeff tells Jim to call the house and if Sam, Sonny's Chinese-American butler, answers he will know that they will have left for the robbery. When Jeff asks Jim to go easy on Terry, who knew nothing about Sonny's crimes, Jim warns him to pay attention to his duty and not get involved with her. Jeff arrives back at the house just as Sonny slaps Terry, angered by her pleas that he reform. Jeff then punches Sonny, after which Sonny orders them both to leave or be shot. On the bus to town, Jeff and Terry confess their love for each other and Jeff asks her to meet him at the train station because he has something important to do. After they part, Jim arrives, enraged that Jeff has ruined their operation. When Jim forces Jeff to turn in his badge and gun, Jeff goes on his own to Doc, and tells him that he will be needed at "the hideout" after the robbery. Jeff then pretends to get too drunk to drive, thus forcing Doc to take them to the hideout, an underground garage at a restaurant called "Rufe's Place." Once inside, Jeff gets one of the gang's machine guns and takes Doc prisoner, then calls Jim. When Sonny and the gang return after the robbery, Jeff captures them, but they knock him off a ramp and take cover as Jim and his men surround the garage. In a gun battle, all of the gangsters are killed except Sonny, who escapes. Jeff is happy to be reinstated, but Terry will not forgive his deception. Some time later, Jim calls Terry in for questioning, but she knows nothing. Because they are sure that Sonny will need money, they place an ad in the newspaper personals column asking "Dinky," Terry's pet name for Sonny, to contact her. They then stakeout the Palace Ballroom, where Terry works, and eventually Sonny comes. Although Terry tries to save him, he is killed in a shootout in which Jeff is wounded. Later, Jim tells Jeff that Terry is is leaving town. Jeff then rushes to the train station and tells the conductor that she is wanted. In her compartment, Terry finally forgives Jeff.