Paul Madvig is a businessman in an American town in the 1920s, doing everything to maintain his power. He plans to marry Janet, the daughter of senator Ralph Henry who must be re-elected in order to ensure Paul's position. Paul is sure of himself and treats his competitor Shad O'Rory, who is involved in the gambling business, with arrogance. Then the senator's son is murdered. It is rumoured that Paul is behind the murder. Private detective Ned Beaumont, an old friend of Paul's, starts to investigate the case. Based on the novel "The Glass Key" by Dashiell Hammett.