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At the Cherry Hill Prison in Philadelphia, Larry Nelson is summoned by the warden, who informs him that he has been granted a pardon. Larry, who was sentenced to prison at age fourteen for beating a brutal reformatory guard to death, has been incarcerated for fifteen years. On his own for the first time as an adult, Larry gets drunk with a woman who tries to steal his wallet. Later, Larry gets a job washing dishes. Although the waitress is interested in Larry, he has been soured by his first experience with a woman and avoids her. One night, the restaurant is held up, and Larry stops the robbery. Disturbed by his experiences, Larry decides to seek the peace of the country. While on the road, Larry sees a newspaper headline reporting an armored car robbery by ex-convict Jack Bernard and an unknown accomplice. When Larry arrives in Jewel Lake, he takes a job working in the lab of a sanitarium for people with tuberculosis. Larry is very attracted to, but wary of, attractive nurse Charlotte Maynard. One day Stoker, a new patient, is brought to the hospital, and Larry recognizes him as Bernard. Privately, Larry promises not to turn Stoker in, and Stoker then reveals that he has hidden the one million dollar take from the robbery. Later, nurse Ann Taylor offers Larry a ride to the village, and they stop at a tavern for a drink. Charlotte is there with her date, a man named Chaney. One day, Stoker offers Larry money to take a monthly payment to his ex-wife Celia. At first, Larry refuses, but when Charlotte discloses that she is only interested in wealthy men, Larry acquiesces to Stoker's plan. Celia questions Larry about Stoker's health, but he says little. Three of Stoker's cohorts, one of whom is Chaney, listen secretly to their conversation, and speculate that he was Stoker's partner in the robbery. After using his new money to buy clothes and a fancy car, Larry begins to date Charlotte. The next time Larry makes a payment to Celia, the three criminals jump him, drive him to the country and torture him, in hopes that he will reveal where the stolen money is hidden. Larry breaks free and returns to the sanitarium. Afraid, Larry returns the money to Stoker, who reminds him that he is now the only one who knows that Larry did not commit the crime. Later, while Ann bandages Larry's wounds, he tells her the truth about his background. Then, because she is so sympathetic, he tells her about Stoker. She begs him to go to the police, but he is too afraid and decides to run away instead. Meanwhile, Chaney asks Charlotte to let him see Stoker, and she agrees after he pays $100. Chaney's companions kidnap Stoker while Chaney searches the room. Larry interrupts the search when he stops in to say goodbye to Stoker, and by accident, finds a locker room ticket. Now seeing Charlotte for the opportunist that she is, he asks Ann to take the ticket to the police while he searches for the house where he was tortured and believes Stoker is being held. Chaney, who has been listening outside the window, kidnaps Ann. When Larry arrives at the hideout, the men have discovered a key on a chain around Stoker's neck. Larry lies that Stoker is dead, and when Chaney arrives with Ann, Larry, who is worried for her safety, says that he was Stoker's partner, and that they were planning to run away with the stolen money. Two of the men then accompany Larry to retrieve the money from the locker. When Larry signs his name on the ticket, he writes a note to the attendant, asking him to summon the police. After they return to the hideout, Stoker wakes up and, realizing that his key is missing, sets the house on fire. Soon, the police arrive and arrest everyone. Larry defies the flames to rescue Stoker who, even though he is dying, refuses to clear Larry. Then Ann begs him to tell the truth, and Stoker informs the police of the location of his partner's body. His name now cleared, Larry and Ann kiss.