Gangsters murder a judge and frame an ex-convict, who is executed but brought back to life when his innocence is proved; then he gets retribution.
Even though his wife is scared, Judge Shaw finds Stephen Martin guilty and sentences him to ten years. Lawyer Nolan (Ricardo Cortez) and gangsters hire Trigger (Joe Sawyer) to eliminate Judge Shaw. John Ellman (Boris Karloff) had been railroaded by Shaw; out of prison, he asks Loder (Barton MacLane) for a job or a loan; but Loder refuses so that Trigger can hire Ellman to watch Shaw's house.
Jimmy (Warren Hull) and Nancy (Marguerite Churchill) work with Dr. Evan Beaumont (Edmund Gwenn) keeping a heart alive. They follow a car that hit theirs and see men put a body in a car; they are warned to keep quiet. Ellman gets in the car and is prosecuted for murder. Nolan defends Ellman but admits everything, waiting for the couple to come forward. Ellman is convicted. He protests his innocence and asks for music at his execution. Jimmy and Nancy tell Dr. Beaumont that Ellman is innocent. Beaumont calls Nolan, who says he'll try District Attorney Werner (Henry O'Neill) but finishes his dinner. Nolan and Werner go to Beaumont, who tells Werner to call the governor. The governor's call to the warden is too late as Ellman is electrocuted. Beaumont revives Ellman and tries to get him to remember.
Nolan tells Beaumont that the state appointed him guardian of Ellman, who was awarded $500,000. Ellman tells Nolan to get out. Werner tells Beaumont that Nolan is the brains of a racketeering gang. Beaumont invites them, and Nancy brings in Ellman. As Ellman plays the piano, he glowers at the racketeers. Blackstone (Paul Harvey), Merritt (Robert Strange), and Loder walk out. Ellman accuses them and Nolan of murdering Judge Shaw. Blackstone calls Trigger to kill John, and Trigger asks triple pay. Ellman calls on Trigger and asks why he killed Shaw, saying he can't escape. Trigger trips, and his gun fires. Blackstone comes in and finds Trigger dead, seeing Ellman walk away. On the street Ellman asks Blackstone why he had him killed, and Blackstone is run over by a train. Merritt's two bodyguards quit. Ellman accuses him, and Merritt has a heart attack, falling out the window.
Beaumont still wants to know what Ellman learned from death; but Nolan and Loder get a court order to have Ellman confined. Nancy is followed by Nolan and Loder to a cemetery, where they shoot Ellman. Nancy calls Beaumont, and Ellman tells him to leave the dead to God. The car with Nolan and Loder crashes. As he dies, Ellman says that he felt peace.
This violent science-fiction drama shows the force behind death as a power that brings a vengeful justice to murderers. Recent resuscitation technology has now greatly increased the number of near-death experiences (NDEs), revealing that most people have spiritual experiences after leaving their bodies at death.