Robbers Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother are shot and taken to the local hospital. There, the two are treated by Dr. Brooks (Sidney Poitier), the hospital's only black doctor. The brothers assault Brooks with racist slurs. And, when his brother ends up dying on the operating table, Ray accuses the doctor of murdering him. Blind with rage, Ray works to turn the white community of the city against Brooks, who finds an unlikely ally in the dead man's widow, Edie (Linda Darnell).