A newspaper editor gets a gambler for a partner to start a tabloid; but they clash over a murder the gambler wants covered up.
War veteran Bruce Corey (Edward G. Robinson) is welcomed back to the newspaper and tells Peck his plans. Secretary Croney (Laraine Day) urges Corey to start his own paper. Corey learns he needs a gambler and exposes Merrill Lambert (Edward Arnold) for fixing a race. Lambert calls Corey to a meeting. Corey asks for $300,000 to start a tabloid, wins half on dice, and becomes Merrill's partner. Corey calls police inspector Brody (Charles Cane) and orders a raid he reports ahead. Croney poses as a murder victim for Corey. The Mercury reports sensational events.
Lambert tells murderer Georgie Pelotti (Don Costello) the Mercury will stop publicizing his crime. Lambert and Gail Fenton (Marsha Hunt) call on Corey and reporter Tommy Jarvis (William T. Orr). Lambert tells Corey to lay off the murder story while Tommy meets Gail. Corey and Tommy go uninvited to Lambert's theater party, where Tommy dances with Gail. Lambert tells Corey not to report on the party; but Corey calls in the story to Mike Reynolds (Don Beddoe) and calls Brody to arrest Pelotti. Gail sings "After You've Gone." Corey leaves, but Tommy stays as the police raid.
Tommy tells Corey he is leaving but goes with him to Lambert, who offers to buy control from Corey and suggests poker with cards he rigged; but Corey outsmarts him, and Lambert keeps the partnership. Lambert takes Gail from Tommy, who tells Corey he will cover the story. A car drives by as two men shoot at Corey and Tommy. Corey gets Molyneaux (Marcel Dalio) to fly the Atlantic. Lambert finds Tommy searching his insurance company files. Tommy goes to Clyde Fenton (Charles Dingle), who owes Lambert money, to expose Lambert. Gail says she has been seeing Lambert, and her father agrees to talk. Gail and Tommy kiss.
Tommy is missing, and Corey calls Lambert to meet him. Croney is worried, but Corey arranges to marry her. Lambert tells Corey he can have Tommy in exchange for the newspaper. Corey gets the gun and has Lambert's henchman get Tommy released. A reporter from the police station reports that Lambert was killed. Corey tells Croney he can't marry, because he shot Lambert. Corey tells Reynolds he is going on his honeymoon. In a cab Corey has Croney write to Brody that he killed Lambert and will be back. Corey tells her to give Lambert's insurance polices back to the people he terrorized with them. Corey says goodbye to Croney and goes on the plane with Molyneaux. Croney throws the letter in a fire. Croney hears that Corey was lost at sea. In the final scene she has Tommy take over Corey's job running the paper.
Two manipulative tough guys are contrasted; one is greedy
and violent while the other takes risks and sacrifices himself
to serve the public.