Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson) is a meek but respected bank clerk who, on his way home from a dinner in recognition of his service, goes to the aid of Kitty Marsh (Joan Bennett) who is being attacked by Johnny Prince, her lowlife boyfriend (Dan Duryea). Attracted by her beauty, but contrary to his usual persona, he takes Kitty for a drink and tells her that he is a famous painter. Kitty and Johnnie soon plan to take Chris for all he's got. He is pulled into a world of crime and deception by this seductive femme fatale and her manipulative boyfriend. For their sins Kitty and Johnnie pay a heavy price but, after a bizarre chain of events and sordid brutality, it is Chris who is left a broken man, deranged - and in a living hell.