skip navigation
One Crowded Night

One Crowded Night(1940)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

At the Autopia Court, an isolated auto camp on the edge of the Mojave desert, lives Mae, her young son Bobby, her restless sister Annie and her parents, all dwelling in exile from Duluth where Mae's husband Jim has been sentenced to jail for a crime he did not commit. The seclusion of the group is broken when Ruth Matson, a passenger on a tour bus, collapses from the heat and is left at the camp to recover. The pregnant Ruth tells the family that she is en route to San Diego to surprise her sailor husband. The next arrival at the camp is Doc Joseph, a medicine man peddling a magic elixir, who proclaims that it was preordained that his tire go flat outside the court. As Doc settles in, a wounded Jim arrives and tells Mae that he has broken out of jail in a desperate attempt to find the two gangsters who can prove his innocence. Tensions run high at the court when two detectives arrive, accompanying an AWOL sailor back to his base. The sailor is Frank Matson, who has deserted to look for Ruth, who, unknown to him, is in the next cabin. The last arrivals at the court are Lefty and Mat, the two gangsters who can clear Jim but are intent upon permanently silencing him instead. Lefty recognizes Gladys, a waitress at the court, as a former gun moll, and threatens to expose her past, thus jeopardizing her marriage to Joe, a hard-working truck driver, unless she helps them locate Jim. As Jim waits for the darkness of night to make his break, Ruth goes into labor, and Pa convinces the reluctant Doc to help deliver her baby. As Doc labors to save Ruth's life, Bobby unwittingly informs Mat and Lefty that Jim is at the camp. A quick thinking Gladys warns the detectives about the killers, and in a blistering shootout, the gangsters are captured. With their arrest, Jim will be exonerated, and all ends happily as Ruth delivers her baby and is reunited with her husband, and Joe forgives Gladys' past.