A grounded pilot gets a dangerous job flying in the Andes mountains and brings his wife, who is courted by other pilots.
At the Trans-Andean Air Service camp Paul Smith (Chester Morris) lands and says another pilot was killed. He complains to boss Ellis (Onslow Stevens) that they need better planes. Ellis sends for grounded stunt pilot George Wilson (Van Heflin), who arrives with his pretty bride Lee Wilson (Whitney Bourne). They learn the room and food will be charged to his pay. Wilson is told the old plane he came in is the best. Smith says that Hanson (Richard Lane) was grounded but flies well, and the old-timer crashed a plane that killed ten. Wilson admits he borrowed a plane and killed a man while flying drunk. Jones (Paul Guilfoyle) is an alcoholic and killed two in a crash, maiming his girl, who committed suicide. Smith tells Wilson and Lee he can't afford to leave. Wilson asks Ellis for a loan so that Lee can go back to the U. S., but Ellis says that Wilson already owes him.
Wilson flies an old crate with Smith carrying acid. Mechanic Col. "Mousey" Mousialovitch (Solly Ward) gives Lee blue towels to make curtains. Garth Hilton (Douglas Walton) lands and tells Lee she is beautiful. Smith brings back Wilson drunk. Wilson tells Lee he wants to live for her, and she gets Ellis to give him the coast route. Smith offers to help Lee and Wilson leave; she says no, but he kisses her. Hanson tells Ellis he won't renew his contract. Wilson flies, following Hanson to the mines. Mousey steals two bottles from Molly (Rita La Roy). Lee asks Molly not to sell Wilson liquor, and Smith makes her agree. Wilson sees a wing come off Hanson's plane before it crashes. Ellis tells Smith that Hanson's money will pay for the plane. Lee suggests that Smith leave. Drunk Wilson flies stunts before a bouncy landing. Lee tells him that they can borrow from Smith or Hilton to leave, and she won't drink with him. Hilton tells drunk Wilson that he can't fly and takes his place. Wilson tells Lee that Hilton and Smith are in love with her. Wilson tells her to go. Smith tells Wilson that Hilton crashed and died. Smith tells Lee that Hilton left her much money. Wilson calls Ellis a murderer and gets his gun. Smith tells Lee to go, and she tells Smith she loves him. Wilson takes Ellis up in a plane and jumps out. Ellis tries to fly and crashes. In the final scene Smith and Lee say goodbye to Mousey, who says he is getting new planes.
This melodrama of desperate pilots being exploited by a ruthless boss suggests the misery that comes to those whose negligence has ruined others.