Cast & Crew
One night, sophisticated, ruthless gang leader Alex Hendricks waits in his white Thunderbird convertible as his pals rob a warehouse. When his fiercely loyal right-hand man, Raymond Gunderson, mortally wounds the watchman, the man sets off the alarm while the criminals flee. Soon after, the watchman's son Frank is driving by the warehouse when he hears the alarm and stops his car to find his father dead. After the police arrive, Frank demands to know what gang might be responsible for his father's murder. Captain R. M. Prell suspects Alex and his thugs, but without evidence, Prell explains, he has been unable to stop the gang. After seeing Alex's mug shot and learning that he drives a white Thunderbird, Frank searches dozens of bars and cafés for the man that night. About to give up, Frank enters another bar, where Alex's thug Boy starts a fight with him. After Frank wins the fight, Alex invites him to his table to thank him, having bet money that Frank would win. He then introduces Frank to the rest of the gang, including Raymond, Barney Adams and his moll, Marla Stanley. Wanting to exploit the youth's volatile temper, Alex hires Frank, who calls himself "Frank Minor." After agreeing to meet Alex later that night, Frank visits his girl friend Kay, who, suspecting that Frank wants to avenge his father's death, warns him that getting into trouble will not resolve the murder. When Frank meets the gang later, he is given a gun and sent with Boy and Barney to hold up a gas station. Meanwhile, Alex has alerted the police to the robbery in order to have Frank arrested to try to ascertain if Frank has a police record. As Frank holds up the station attendant, Boy and Barney easily escape before the police arrive and apprehend Frank. At the police station, Prell takes Frank aside and, after learning he has infiltrated the gang, explains that Alex's lawyer will secure his release. Prell, realizing that Frank is already deeply involved and will most likely try to kill Alex, orders Frank to become a spy for the police, threatening him with ten years in prison for the robbery if he does not cooperate. Frank is at first resistant, wanting only revenge, but finally relents and later tells Kay of his involvement. Back at Alex's apartment, the leader explains to Frank that the ruse was his only way to find out if Frank had a police record, then welcomes Frank into the gang. After Frank learns the details of that night's robbery, he asks to phone Kay to cancel their date, the ruse established to pass the robbery information to Prell, but Alex refuses to let him call. When they do not receive word from Frank, both Prell and Kay worry, having expected to be alerted to the crime that night. Later, Frank and five other gang members break into an upper-class home, chloroform the owners and steal all their valuables. Later at his apartment, Alex toasts his men, but then sadistically orders one of the gang members to stab Boy for confiscating loot for himself. Soon after, Frank reports the robbery to Prell, who sends his men to the house, where Raymond is watching for suspicious activity and notices the lights are still off when the police arrive. Realizing that because the house is dark, the couple must still be unconscious and therefore unable to call the police, Raymond tells Alex that Frank must have notified the authorities. Alex plans a ruse to trick Frank into exposing his alliance with the police by telling him about the next crime early, claiming that he trusts his new recruit more than the others. Frank then relays the information to Prell, but later Alex changes the plans, ordering Raymond, Barney and Frank only to stake out Queen Record Company, not rob it. On the way to the job, Frank asks to call his "demanding" girl friend to break their date and, although Raymond adamantly refuses his request, a sympathetic Barney stops at a phone booth. Raymond stands beside Frank as he tells Kay that their date must be "later," thus alerting her to the change. Kay faithfully relays the message to the police, who abort their mission just in time to save Frank's cover. After hours of watching the store, the group returns to Alex's, where a defiant Frank complains about the lame assignment and demands to know if Alex suspects he is working for the police, then implies that the paranoid Raymond is actually in charge of the gang. Alex apologizes to Frank, then reprimands Raymond for his doubts, but Raymond remains suspicious. Later, Frank, knowing Alex has planned a robbery for the next evening and will not tell the gang the details until only moments before the crime, arranges to hand off a matchbook with the time and place to a plain-clothes officer in the bar which the gang must pass through to exit Alex's building. The next night, Frank successfully hands the matchbook to the officer, who asks him for a light as Frank exits the bar. As planned, the gang breaks into another warehouse, where Raymond stabs the guard while the other men load the truck with merchandise. The police suddenly arrive and arrest most of the gang, but Raymond and Alex knock Frank out, take him hostage and escape to Alex's building, where they bind him to a chair in the now-closed bar. After Raymond leaves the room, Alex rants about how Frank has upset their operation. Unaware that Raymond has returned, Alex, prompted by Frank's questions, caustically announces he will abandon the insane Raymond when he leaves, prompting Raymond to bludgeon his boss to death. When Marla suddenly arrives and screams hysterically over Alex's body, a knife-wielding Raymond runs out the front door, where the police shoot and kill him.
During the opening credits for T-Bird Gang, "Alex Hendricks" and his gang rob a warehouse and murder the night watchman. Although there is a copyright statement on the film, it was not registered for copyright. Shelly Manne and the musicians were listed onscreen as "Original Score by Shelly Manne and His Men: Monty Budwig, Russ Freeman, Charley Mariano, Stu Williamson." T-Bird Gang marked the feature film debut for actress Pat George.