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Crime boss Paul Madvig, who has been running the city for ten years, decides to reform and joins the campaign to re-elect Senator John T. Henry, whose daughter, Janet, Paul hopes to marry. When bibulous gang member Walter Ivans kills a man in a car accident, Paul refuses to help clear him. Paul then threatens gangster Shad O'Rory, who runs a gambling house called the Four-Leaf Clover, that he is going to close down his club and clean up the town. Paul receives a "glass key" to the senator's house, which is a cautious invitation, but neither Janet nor her brother Taylor agree with their father's association with Paul. The senator then overhears Taylor, who is a compulsive gambler, tell Janet that he needs money. Later, O'Rory demands that Taylor repay his gambling debt, and Ed Beaumont, Paul's bodyguard, sees Taylor with Paul's daughter Opal. That night, Paul visits the senator to break up Taylor and Opal's relationship. While out walking at three o'clock in the morning, Ed finds Taylor's dead body a few blocks from the Henry home, as well as a cane cap he thinks is Paul's. When Ed tells Paul he found the body, Paul acts innocent, but Ed knows Paul was seen quarrelling with Taylor at the scene of the crime. O'Rory then calls the editor of The Observer , who is a friend of his, to implicate Paul, and headlines read: "Witness Involves Madvig in Murder." O'Rory then visits the senator, asking him to disassociate himself from Paul in exchange for backing from O'Rory and The Observer . Meanwhile, Janet is convinced that Paul killed Taylor, and Paul's grand jury trial is scheduled. Ed appeals to Paul to let the Four-Leaf Clover re-open to save himself, but he refuses. Determined to find the real murderer, Ed stages a fight in public with Paul in order to infiltrate O'Rory's gang. Convinced of Ed's disloyalty to Paul, O'Rory agrees to let Ed run the gambling house in exchange for information on Paul. When O'Rory shows Ed the affidavit from Henry Sloss, who witnessed the murder, Ed burns it and discards O'Rory's bribe money, for which he is beaten by a henchman named Jeff and taken prisoner. By lighting a mattress on fire, Ed escapes his room, then jumps out a window, and is placed in a hospital. When Paul visits, Ed tells him about Sloss, and Paul advises Sloss to skip town and is accused in the papers of kidnapping the witness. Janet, meanwhile, has turned Opal against her father, and O'Rory has asked Opal to give reporter Hinkle an indictment of her father. Ed poses as Hinkle, however, and at the Henry home, notices that the senator's cane has a new cap on it and takes it as evidence. When Opal threatens to tell everything to the press, Ed knocks her out and abducts her as Hinkle arrives. After the papers report that Sloss has been brutally murdered, Paul finally cracks, admitting to Ed that he killed Taylor by accident when, during their argument, Taylor fell in the gutter and hit his head. Paul claims he had been keeping quiet in order to win Janet. Ed then gets Jeff to admit he killed Sloss. When O'Rory overhears and intervenes, Jeff chokes him. District Attorney Farr then holds an inquisition regarding Sloss's murder, and the senator still supports Paul. During the hearing, Ed uses the cane butt he found at the scene of Taylor's murder as an ashtray to intimidate Paul into confessing. Janet, meanwhile, still maintains that Opal knows that her father killed Taylor. Ed testifies that Paul knows who the killer is, but is protecting him. It is then revealed that the senator killed his own son by accident after they struggled. Henry is out of the senate race, and Ed and Opal, whom Ed affectionately calls "Snip," go on a date.