Vicki Gaye (Cyd Charisse) is a dancer at a night club in early 1930's Chicago. A healthy cynic who still possesses some ideals, she entertains no illusions about the "invitation" (or the $100 that goes with it) that she gets to a party hosted by mob kingpin Rico Angelo (Lee J. Cobb) -- but she still won't let Angelo's head torpedo Louis Canetto (John Ireland) get near her. Angelo's attorney Thomas Farrell (Robert Taylor) is another story -- he's a more complicated than the men he defends, and still enough of an idealist so that when he and Vicki cross swords about who is the worse hypocrite, it actually affects him. Farrell, whose right leg has been crippled from birth and getting worse, took the easy way to success by pursuing a criminal practice, including getting Canetto off a murder rap -- but after meeting Vicki he starts to see another path to take, and also embarks on a year of surgical procedures to cure the worst of the pain in his leg. And he comes out a new man, with a new plan in life, including starting over in a practice that doesn't involve criminal law. But Angelo plans on having Farrell fight an old friend, prosecutor Jeffrey Stewart (Kent Smith), who is trying to indict Angelo's associate Cooky La Motte (Corey Allen). Farrell resists, until Angelo threatens to harm Vicki -- and when the case and the trail blow up in both sides' faces, he finds himself caught between the mob and the law, with Vicki urging him to do the right thing.