After many juvenile detentions and six years in prison, the small time thief and burglar Max Dembo is released on parole. Max has an initial friction with his nasty parole officer Earl Frank, but the officer agrees to let him live in a hotel room if he gets a job within a week. Max goes to an employment agency and the attendant Jenny Mercer helps him to get a job in a can industry. Max is decided to begin a new life straight and visits his old pal Willy Darin and his family. When Willy brings Max home, he injects heroin and leaves his spoon under Max's bed. Max dates Jenny and on the next day after hours, he finds Frank waiting for him snooping around his room. Frank finds the spoon and sends Max to prison for tests to prove whether he had a fix or not. Despite the negative result, Frank leaves Max for a week imprisoned. When Max is released again, Franks gives a ride and presses him to tell who had a fix in his room. Max hits Frank, steals his car and seeks out his former friends to restart his life of crime. Jenny lodges Max at her place and has a love affair with him. Max and his best friend Jerry Schue successfully rob a bank; but after a jewelry heist in Beverly Hills, where Max loses Jerry and Willy, he leaves California and Jenny and heads alone elsewhere.