War heroes Rip Murdock (Humphrey Bogart) and Johnny Drake (William Prince) are sent to Washington, D.C., by train, but are not told why. During the trip, they learn they're about to receive top honors for their service. Johnny, seemingly terrified by the publicity that awaits him, jumps off the train and later turns up dead. Suspecting foul play, Rip begins digging into his pal's past. He encounters cover-ups, threats to his own life and deadly femme fatale Coral Chandler (Lizabeth Scott).