College professor Andrew Patterson (Glenn Ford) partakes in an initiation ceremony for a new member of a secret society to which he belongs. Ignorant of the group's true aim at first, he is ordered to convince a close friend, Dr. Horvathy (Eduard Franz), to withdraw his application to a prestigious school. Horvathy declines and kills himself. Horrified by the actions of the group, Patterson wants out. Soon, Patterson's own reputation and life are on the line when he publicly defies the group.