Cast & Crew
When Mary returns to Ashbury, the small town she left several years earlier, her first stop is the house she owns, where Molly Veech and her family now live. Before she left town, Mary was in love with Molly's son Kenny, a loafer and a drunk, but was driven away by his lack of ambition. Mary is disappointed to learn that Kenny still has no job and spends his nights gambling and drinking. That night at dinner, Kenny is angered when Mary receives a large bouquet of roses from Lew, the owner of the town's hotel and bar, and follows Mary to Lew's club when she goes there to thank him. As Lew buys Mary a drink, he is watched closely by Kenny and Fran, a waitress who has been dating Kenny. Later, when Kenny relieves his father, who works at the train station, he is visited by Gitlo, the bartender in Lew's club. Gitlo dislikes Lew and suggests that he and Kenny steal the proceeds from Lew's annual fair and then murder him. At first, Kenny rejects the idea, but when Mary announces that she is leaving town, he decides to go through with it in order to get her back. At the fair, Mary sees Gitlo slip a gun into Kenny's pocket, and already suspicious, contrives to detain Kenny until Lew leaves on the train. She then refuses to see Kenny again and moves to a hotel. Sometime later, after Lew and Kenny come to blows over her, Mary confesses that she loves Kenny despite his lack of ambition, and he promises to change. Kenny gets a job working for the railroad, pleasing Mary, but then a jealous Lew frames him and Gitlo for murder. Tipped off by Lew, Gitlo and Kenny are chased by the police, whose shots wound Kenny. Gitlo and Kenny eventually elude their pursuers and hop a train to Detroit. There, Gitlo leaves the injured Kenny with his old friend Estelle and returns to Ashbury. He tells Mary where Kenny is hiding and then goes looking for Lew. Lew shoots Gitlo, but before he dies, Gitlo strangles Lew and then tells the police that he framed Kenny. Meanwhile, Mary travels to Detroit to bring Kenny home.
R. O. Binger
George Van Marter
Contemporary sources note that Maritta Wolff's novel, which won the Avery Hopwood Memorial Prize, was on the Hays Office's "forbidden" list because in the novel, Kenny and Mary were siblings and Mary made her living as a prostitute. Nero Productions was formed expressly by producer Seymour Nebenzal, writer Philip Yordan and lawyer Herbert T. Silverberg to produce this film. It marked Jorja Curtright's film debut. Alan Ladd and Evelyn Keyes starred in a April 15, 1946 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of the story.