Nick Robey (John Garfield) is just a small time criminal still living with his mother, until a heist goes terribly wrong and he fatally injures a policeman in his panic. To escape the clutches of the law, Robey flees to a nearby swimming pool where he meets Peg, a nice but shy working girl who convinces him to come home and meet her family. Once inside, Nick reveals his true identity and threatens more killings if the family attempt to alert the authorities to his whereabouts. Despite the criminal's savage attitude, Peg (Shelley Winters) is attracted to him and tries to persuade him to leave her hostage family alone by agreeing to accompany him. Willing, Robey presents her with money in order to buy a car for their getaway - but will she keep her side of the bargain?