Myra Hudson (Crawford) is a successful Broadway playwright who rejects Lester Blaine (Palance) as the lead in her new play. Later, she meets Lester on a train bound for San Francisco, is swept off her feet, and, after a brief courtship, marries him. When Lester learns Myra is writing her will and plans to leave the bulk of her fortune to a foundation, he plots her murder in cahoots with Irene Neves (Gloria Grahame), an old girlfriend hiding in the wings. Myra discovers their plans and concocts a diabolical scheme to kill Lester and place the blame on Irene, but cannot bring herself to go through with it. Lester learns of Myra's intention and accidentally kills Irene and himself in an attempt on Myra's life. Myra hears the two pronounced dead and breathes a sigh of relief. Others in the cast include Bruce Bennett, Virginia Huston, and Mike Connors (performing as Touch Connors).
A. H. Weiler in the New York Times commented, "Joan Crawford should be credited with a truly professional performance", and Otis L. Guernsey, Jr. in the New York Herald Tribune wrote, "The scenario...is designed to allow Miss Crawford a wide range of quivering reactions to vicious events, as she passes through the stage of starry-eyed love, terrible disillusionment, fear, hatred, and finally hysteria. With her wide eyes and forceful bearing, she is the woman for the job." In 1984, writer Spencer Selby noted, "Undoubtedly one of the most stylish and refined woman-in-distress noirs."