A scrawny, bespectacled college student exerts himself too much and he dies. Another student, the school's star athlete, is advised the boy's grieving mother has been led to believe, by his letters home, the boy was his best friend, though they never met.
Leaving his shop,a butcher witnesses a car run down a man on the street, but before he can give the police a description, he's threatened by a gangster.The victim was a crime investigator, and the "accident" was a hit. The butcher and his family is stalked and terrorized by the crooks from then on.
A Chicago fire investigator attempts to apprehend the arsonist who has set a series of blazes in run-down buildings near the river. He suspects that the perpetrator might be part of the throng of on-lookers that gawk at the firefighters battling the blazes. When a deaf woman is seriously injured in one of the torched buildings, the inspector redoubles his efforts to arrest the firebug before one of his blazes results in death.