Based on a play by Martin Flavin, tough-talking Walter Huston stars in this tale of prison life ably directed by Howard Hawks. After Bob Graham's 20th birthday celebration at a local speakeasy is marred when he accidentally kills a man while defending his date, District Attorney Brady, (Huston) unfairly railroads Graham into accepting a ten-year prison term. Years later, having lost a race for governor, Brady becomes warden of the prison where Graham is serving his sentence. In an effort to right the wrong he did years earlier, he hires Graham as his chauffeur. And when the young convict meets and falls in love with Brady's daughter, Mary, she presses her father for a pardon. However, Graham is the only witness to the murder of an inmate, but refuses to break the "criminal code" by snitching on his fellow prisoner, Galloway, played by Boris Karloff in his breakthrough film role.