Film noir thriller starring James Cagney as ruthless career criminal Ralph Cotter. With the help of his partner-in-crime's sister, Ralph escapes from prison. He then kills his partner and quickly lures his grieving sister, Holiday Carleton (Barbara Payton), into his arms. Ralph's sociopathic shrewdness allows him to manipulate two bent cops into watching his back while he successfully carries out a succession of robberies. He finds himself in a dangerous situation, however, after he wins the affections of naive heiress Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter).