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Chief accountant and general manager of Bellows Mining Company Augustus "Gus" King arrives home late one evening to confront his wife Marge about her affair with his boss, Sam Bellows. Marge admits the affair, prompting Gus to go to a local diner where he anonymously telephones the Internal Revenue Agency asking to meet with an agent to report a major case of tax evasion. Gus is told to meet agent Steve Daniels the following day. Unknown to Gus, Marge has reported to Bellows, who orders his cohort, Harry Reardon to follow Gus. Suspicious, Gus gives Danny, the diner's cook, a check with a message on the back. Afterward, Reardon attacks Gus outside of the diner and knifes him to death. A few days later, police Lt. Bob Ullman meets with Steve to ask if he recognizes a picture of Gus, whose dead body was found with a matchbook containing Steve's name written inside. When Steve relates the anonymous call and acknowledges that no one showed up at the arranged meeting, both men suspect that the call and the murder are linked. As the case may involve tax evasion, Steve joins Bob in the investigation of Gus's murder. After Bob verifies that a long-distance call was made from the diner to the IRS in San Francisco, Steve question Danny, who gives him Gus's check which is worthless. Steve discovers a message on the back listing the names Brown and Smith and two banks located in Mexico. With the help of the Mexican government, Steve learns that Brown and Smith each have large accounts in the banks and that their deposits are always made by mail. Steve then visits Marge and, assuming the name of "Steve Adams," claims that he was Gus's silent partner and demands to meet Bellows. The next day, knowing that Bellows is hiding at Marge's, Steve returns and again insists that she arrange for him to meet Bellows. When Bellows appears, Steve demands that he take him on as a partner or he will reveal everything he knows about the Mexican accounts to the IRS. After the meeting, Steve asks fellow IRS agent Cliff Gage to place wire taps on Marge and Bellow's office. Steve adds that, since Bellows' gold mine has shown very little profit throughout the year, Bellows must be transporting the gold illegally across the border. Bellows meets with Reardon and another partner, Ernie Medford, and although Reardon suggests they kill Steve, Bellows and Medford decide to put Steve to the test. A day later, Steve visits Marge for cocktails at her house where she feigns drunkenness and offers to team up with him to swindle Bellows. Steve realizes she is pretending and after berating her for betraying Bellows, departs. On his way back to town, however, Steve is abducted by Reardon, who takes him out to a lone country road, unaware that Cliff has asked the police to follow Steve. When Reardon stops Steve and is about to turn him over to killer Al Chaloopka, the police arrive and Chaloopka is killed in the ensuing shootout. Knowing he must win Reardon's trust, Steve covers for him by telling the police that he and Reardon were about to be held up by Chaloopka. Upon meeting Bellows later, Steve confesses he is an IRS agent, but that he has grown tired of the job and is determined to participate in Bellows' gold smuggling operation. Bellows agrees to take Steve to the mine to show him how the operation is run. Still suspicious, Bellows later tells Medford that he believes that Steve has wired his office and Marge's home, and to test his theory, Bellows has intentionally given information about the route they will follow after leaving the mine with the gold. As planned, the police overhear the information and arrange a roadblock of Bellows' route. At the mine a few days later, Steve grows suspicious and, investigating a bar of gold, discovers it is painted lead. Realizing that he must prevent Bellows from being stopped at the roadblock or the investigation will be compromised, Steve starts a fire which attracts the attention of the local ranger. As the ranger departs, Steve slips him a note regarding the road block and the police are informed in time to let Bellows through. Now convinced that Steve is not an informer, Bellows confides that he will be closing the mine soon and making one last gold run. Steve arranges for Cliff to interrogate Marge who, on guarantee of protection, confesses that Gus did make the anonymous call and that Bellows intends to flee to Mexico with the gold. With Cliff's assistance, Steve arranges for an exact duplicate of Bellows' old car to be made and, on the drive to Mexico, has them stopped before the border and the cars surreptitiously exchanged. Although the police tear apart Bellows' car, they find no gold. Meanwhile, in the duplicate car, Bellows, Reardon, Medford and Steve stop at a small gas station a few miles from the border where they pick up the gold shipment. Bellows then explains that traveling separately from the gold as long as possible has proven a safe method. When the mechanic realizes the car does not belong to the Bellows, however, Bellows realizes that Steve has been lying. Reardon knocks Steve out as they drive into Mexico, but Steve revives in time to hear Bellows plan his escape to Mazatlan. Steve breaks free only to be chased by Reardon to an abandoned warehouse, where they fight until Reardon falls to his death. Steve gets to the airport in time to prevent Bellows' escape by informing the police that Bellows has no passport. When documents detailing the false bank accounts are discovered on Bellows, he is arrested and charged with tax evasion and Steve closes the case.