Young Dorothy Adams is orphaned when her criminal father is gunned down by other gang members. She ends up in an orphanage where she is befriended by fellow orphans Bob Elliot and Mickey Roma. As an adult, she is conned into taking blame for a hit-and-run accident by her rich but alcoholic fiance, who subsequently abandons her. She emerges from prison a hardened criminal who turns to armed robbery and eventually rises through blackmail to a position of power in the local crime organization. She uses her ill-gained profits to build a playground for the orphanage, and after she is successfully prosecuted for racketeering through the testimony of undercover cop Jim Kelly (Alan Ladd), childhood sweetheart Bob Elliot vows to be waiting for her when she gets out.