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One evening while driving to their home in Monterey, California, trusting wife Julie Benton confronts her husband Lyle about his recent public fit of jealousy. Lyle accelerates the car, which swerves precariously on the ocean cliff road while a terrified Julie scrambles to keep control of the steering wheel. After Lyle finally stops the car and asks her forgiveness, Julie is so confused by the near-death experience that she can feel only pity for her husband's emotional condition. Later that night, Julie informs Lyle that family friend Cliff Henderson has told her that her first husband's suicide was not due to financial crisis as they had previously been led to believe. Lyle admits that he was covetous of Julie even while she was still married to Bob and demands she forget about him. The next day at a country club, Julie meets Cliff, who explains that Bob refused a loan just before his death, claiming he had no need of it. Suspecting foul play, Cliff questions Julie about Lyle's recent public outbursts and suggests that Bob's death could have been a murder arranged to look like a suicide. Under Cliff's persistent questioning, Julie finally admits that Lyle was a guest in their home the night Bob died. That night when Julie, in an attempt to find the truth, passionately tells Lyle if Bob had not committed suicide, she would have considered killing him so that she and Lyle could be together. Lyle then admits to murdering Bob, and warns Julie not to leave him. The next morning, desperate to flee her murderous husband, Julie claims she needs to borrow some breakfast items from the neighbors and attempts to leave. When Lyle insists on accompanying her, Julie suggests he go alone, hoping she can make her escape in his absence. As Julie furiously packs her belongings, a suspicious Lyle secretly returns to the house and tampers with the car. After Julie discovers the car will not start, she hitches a ride into town, where she meets Cliff at the police station. After reporting the murder to detectives Pope and Cole, Julie learns that without concrete evidence to reopen Bob's case, the police cannot help her. Meanwhile, Lyle has told the police that Julie and Cliff are having an affair and denies all charges against him. Seeing Julie in the police hallway, Lyle bitterly warns her that she is making a mistake. Knowing Julie must flee Monterey, Cliff helps her drive to San Francisco and check into a hotel under an assumed name. However, Lyle locates Julie that night with the help of a private detective and calls her in her room. Fearing for her life, Julie, accompanied by Cliff, meets with San Francisco police detective Capt. Pringle and Det. Mace, who caution that this pattern of abuse often ends in the wife's death. After they suggest she change her identity, Julie decides to her former job as an airline hostess and move to New York. Months later, after Julie has settled into a new life, she wires Cliff to meet her at co-worker Denice Martin's San Francisco apartment during an airline stop-over. When Lyle calls Cliff's office later that day, the secretary unknowingly tells him Cliff is meeting with a "private party" in San Francisco, prompting the murderer to tail Cliff as he leaves town. Noticing that he is being followed, Cliff stops his car to confront Lyle, who holds him at gunpoint and orders Cliff to get in the car and take him to Julie. As they drive off, Cliff jumps from the car, prompting Lyle to shoot him. After Lyle finds Julie's address in the injured Cliff's jacket and takes off in the car, he decides he must return and kill Cliff. Meanwhile, the wounded Cliff drags himself to a house owned by the elderly Ellis, who calls the sheriff. Lyle, overhearing the conversation from outside the house, takes off. In his delirium, Cliff can only mumble Julie's apartment building location but is unable to give the police the apartment number. Meanwhile an airline dispatcher calls Julie to cover for a flight that night. While Pringle and Mace begin knocking on each of the sixty-four apartments in the building, they miss Julie as she runs down the stairs. Although Julie spots Lyle following her as she catches a cab to the airport, she fails to see him on the tarmac as he boards her flight. Back in the apartment building, the officers find a note Julie has left for Cliff, which explains her abrupt departure. Concerned that Lyle has learned of Julie's flight, Pringle radios the cockpit and after explaining to Julie that Lyle has wounded Cliff, orders the pilots to keep the plane in California airspace. Pringle warns Julie that she must calmly try to find out if Lyle is on board without drawing attention to herself. Checking row by row, Julie spots Lyle, but as she approaches the cockpit to tell the pilot, her eyes meet Lyle's, prompting the murderer to jump from his seat, grab Julie and force his way into the cockpit, where he shoots the pilot. Telling Julie she must fly the plane alone, he then shoots the co-pilot, who fires in return, knocking Lyle unconscious. Hearing the shots, the passengers panic, while a doctor on board pronounces the pilot dead and warns the wounded co-pilot that he is liable to black out at any time. With only twenty-six minutes remaining before the plane reaches the San Francisco airport, Pringle orders a shaken Julie to land the aircraft with help from the radio control tower and the barely conscious co-pilot. Learning that she must keep the nose level, Julie practices balancing the plane for their landing. Meanwhile, ambulances and fire trucks ready themselves at the runway as hundreds of airport patrons gather at the windows to see the emergency landing. Using radar, the control tower guides Julie to runway, where a ground crew radios her final landing instructions. Julie's first touch-down ends when she bounces back into the air. She then attempts to land again, pulls the throttle back and brings the plane to a complete stop, thus averting any further consequence of Lyle's murderous rage.