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Jane Baird and her younger sister Edie, both homeless and friendless, are released from the county detention home with fifteen other girls, jailed for vagrancy. As they leave, they are approached by Tap Manson, a suave gangster, who distributes cards to them promising employment as hostesses with House By the Side of the Road, Inc., a chain of motels operated by Mrs. Burke, a vicious racketeer who looks like a kindly old woman. Jane persuades Edie to ignore Manson's offer and seek regular employment instead, and they pawn Jane's watch so that they can support themselves while job hunting. After several days of fruitless effort, Edie convinces Jane to accept Manson's offer, and the sisters meet Mrs. Burke, who assigns them to work in House 42, which is located in the Midwest. With three other girls, Jane and Edie are transported to a combination tourist camp, bar and restaurant. There, they are instructed to walk to the highway, flag down expensive cars driven by men and then convince the drivers to spend the night and their money at the hotel. Jane's first victim is Rocky Stone, the young owner of a jewelry business. Rocky is wise to the racket, but gives Jane a ride anyway and agrees to stop at the motel. There, Rocky and Jane argue and Jane leaves him. Manson learns that Rocky is transporting $60,000 worth of jewelry and steals the gems from his car. Upon discovering that the gems are missing, Rocky suspects Jane and threatens Mrs. Burke with a lawsuit. After Mrs. Burke threatens a countersuit, Rocky decides to confront Jane directly. When Manson sees Jane talking to Rocky, he reports the meeting to Mrs. Burke, who sends for Jane and begins to interrogate the girl. Jane, unable to provide satisfactory answers to the questions, is ordered beaten by Mrs. Burke. Upon discovering her sister's mistreatment, Edie vows revenge on Manson, but Rhoda, another hostess, overhears Edie's threats and warns the gangster, who then kills Edie by running her over. Heartbroken, Jane turns to Rocky for help. Rocky then forces Manson to confess to Edie's murder and expose the workings of Mrs. Burke's racket. Manson and Mrs. Burke are both arrested for their crimes and brought to trial. After Mrs. Burke is sentenced to life imprisonment and Manson is convicted of murder, Rocky leads Jane from the courthouse and toward a new life.