Dan Brady (Mickey Rooney) is a mechanic. Helen is a nice girl, who is in love with him. Dan wants nothing to do with her and is after Vera, a mean, selfish, money hungry waitress. Dan has no money for his hot date with Vera, so he takes money from the cash register at work. One crime leads to another. To repay the cash, he takes a watch and pawns it. To repay the watch, he robs a drunk. However, a low life named Nick (Peter Lorre) knows about the robbery and blackmails him into stealing a car from his work. When his boss confronts him, Brady chokes his boss.
Brady thinks he killed his boss. He runs into Helen, who offers to lie and provide an alibi. Brady knows there is too much evidence against him. They decide to flee to Mexico together. They commandeer the car of an older man to force him to drive them there. The old man is a lawyer. Over their time in the car, the lawyer is touched by Helen's devotion to Brady, and by Brady's despair and desire to go straight. They drop Brady in San Diego to catch a boat to Mexico. Brady misses the boat, and the police are chasing him over the pier.
Helen and the lawyer hear on the radio that Brady's boss lived. They run out on the pier and stop Brady from shooting it out with the police. The lawyer promises Brady that he can get him off with less than 10 years in jail. Helen promises to wait for Brady to get out.
Thanks Joseph C!