Career criminal Max Dembo finds himself paroled from prison after a long stretch for running a check-forging scheme. Max, a former heroin-addict who kicked his habit and became self-educated in jail, resolves to go straight but is stymied at every turn by an apathetic parole officer who won't give him a break, a prejudiced society that won't give him a job, and the temptations of his old life, which seem to be omnipresent.
Finally deciding that quitting his former profession is impossible, Max falls back in with his old friends, including a former stick-up partner with a dying wife and a former cellmate who has just escaped from prison. With these men, Max sets-out on an old-fashioned crime spree, culminating in a typical "last, big score," an armed heist at a high-priced jewelry store.
This report prepared by James Craver