John Garfield (The Postman Always Rings Twice) plays Nick Robey, a corrupt but somewhat sympathetic criminal who leads an abysmal life with his alcoholic mother. His friend pushes him into participating in a robbery, but the whole affair is botched. As a result a cop is critically wounded, and Nick just barely gets away. He tries to avoid suspicion by hiding out at a local indoor pool. There, he goes for a swim and meets up with the meek and respectable Peggy Dobbs (Shelley Winters; Lolita, The Night of the Hunter).