Crime boss Sullivan, a thief since childhood, then an apprentice hoodlum, and finally a top man in the underworld--but wholly a product of a mean environment--begins to doubt himself. He ignores mob business, doting on his gun moll Belita, who he comes to believe is two-timing him.
Tamiroff warns Sullivan that his men are losing ground to a rival gangster, Leonard, but Sullivan cannot be bothered. He goes to an ice cream parlor, a hangout of his youth, and there finds Lorring, who attacks him for his crooked life. Sullivan begins to inspect his background and purposes, and
now feels not only doubt but fear, which creeps into his heart and overtakes his judgment. He...