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Fred MacNeil, a construction engineer who is new in town, drives up to Pete's Drive-in and is enchanted with the waitress, Joyce King. Later, they take a motorboat ride on a lake, and "Mac" tells her he is being sent to Tennessee and wants to marry her. Joyce confesses she is a divorcee and has been in prison because of her husband, but this does not matter to Fred, and they marry. Walter Ferris, Joyce's ex-husband, returns, followed by a vengeful former moll, Peggy Athens. When they are caught in Joyce's apartment by policeman Ken Reardon, Ferris shoots him, leaving the newlyweds to find the corpse. The couple's conviction is brought about through the machinations of aggressive assistant district attorney John Marlin as part of his campaign for the top job. At the office of Warden Rynex, the couple is separated: Joyce is sent to the women's prison, and Mac is sent to the death house to await execution. Peggy, also imprisoned, spitefully starts a fight with Joyce, who does not know who she is, and allows Joyce to be blamed. When Joyce is sent to isolation in the cell block, her friends, Ruffles McWade, Ivory and the "Countess" ostracize Peggy until she confesses that Ferris shot Reardon. Meanwhile, Marlin's campaign is floundering, so his manager, Hugh Gilman, turns to the issue of prison laxity to win votes. They arrange with a matron named Mrs. Lowry and Grimley, a guard who is jealous of Lennox, to allow Mac and Joyce to momentarily meet for a newspaper photograph. Peggy later shows Joyce the headline, "Our Prisons Pamper Killers, Marlin Charges." Mac's cellmate is executed, and he is to hang the next day. Peggy confesses to Joyce, and she is sent to Marlin, but he refuses to believe her. Joyce pulls the warden's gun on Marlin, and she and Peggy follow him out. After a chase and an automobile accident, Joyce and Peggy get their story to the newspaper. Peggy stages a meeting with Ferris, and the police hear him admit to the killing of Reardon, and he is taken into custody. Joyce and Mac then leave in their trailer for a honeymoon trip to Tennessee.