Based on the novel and play by Robert Wilder, a woman falls in love with a deputy sheriff and gets involved with political bosses.
Sheriff Titus Semple (Sydney Greenstreet) send his deputy Fielding Carlisle (Zachary Scott) to close a carnival, and Annabelle (Virginia Huston) invites Field to dinner. He finds all in the carnival have left except Lane (Joan Crawford). He takes her out to eat and gets Pete (Tito Vuolo) to hire her as a waitress. Titus takes Field to meet the state boss Dan Reynolds (David Brian) and says Field will be state senator. Field hears Lane singing, and she leaves her date to go with him. By the springs he kisses her.
Field learns that newspaper editor Doc Waterson (Fred Clark) opposes him. Titus wants Field to marry Annabelle, and she accepts his proposal. Field tells Lane, and she loses her job. Waterson tells Lane that Titus had her fired. She complains to Titus and defiantly says she is staying. Police arrest her on the street for soliciting. Field looks for her.
After thirty days in jail, Lane goes to Lute Mae (Gladys George) for a job. Lane sees Dan get a hospital director removed for not cheating well. Titus tells Lute Mae to fire Lane, but she refuses. Lute Mae asks Lane if she is in love with Field. Lane takes care of hung-over Dan and makes breakfast for him. They go to his construction project. Dan kisses her and says he is going to New York.
At the capital Lane is with Dan, and she tells Field that she was in love with him. Titus informs Annabelle and Field that Dan and Lane got married in New York. Dan and Lane have a large house on Flamingo Road. Titus comes by and asks Dan to make Field governor, but Dan says he already promised it to someone else. Titus with Field goes to Burr Lassen at the construction site and threatens his arrested son if he does not betray Dan.
Titus finds Field drunk and throws him out of his lumber company. Dan has a meeting, and Titus comes in and says he wants to be governor. Titus has evidence of their graft, and all but Dan leave with him. Lane explains to Dan that Titus hates her and him because she was in love with Field. Dan says she played him and leaves town.
Drunk Field calls on Lane and says that Titus framed Dan. She asks how, but he goes into the next room and shoots himself. Titus implicates Lane in his death. On a train Dan's lawyer warns him he will be charged with peonage for using convict labor. Waterson advises Lane to get out of town, and people outside her house protest. Lane goes to Titus and threatens to kill him unless he gets Dan cleared. They struggle for the gun, and he is shot. In the final scene Waterson and Dan visit Lane in jail, and they are reconciled.
This drama exposes the political corruption in a one-party
state that leaves voters without much choice. An independent woman
challenges the town bully and manages to provoke the self-destruction
of two prominent men.