Truckers depend on illegal amphetamines to stay awake over long distances, causing a number of road accidents. So the government assigns an undercover agent to expose the criminal connections.
I expect this film amounts to an offspring of 1955's Man With a Golden Arm, the first post-war film to deal seriously with drug addiction. More directly is 1956's Bigger Than Life that dramatizes the maddening effects of a new prescription drug on an over-worked schoolteacher (James Mason). Up to 1955, drug addiction was pretty much taboo among non-exploitation filmmakers. So this minor oddity was dealing with an unusual topic not conventionally seen on the screen. (As a teen seeing the movie on initial release, I recall being puzzled by the topic).
The movie itself is standard Hollywood exposethe clean-cut gov't agent (Graves), the nefarious criminal ring, a mysterious headman, plus a winsome romantic interest (Powers). Still, the director is Joe Newman who could occasionally rise above the potboiler as I think he does here with some effective touches. Note the well-played surprise twist, along with pill-popping Chuck Connors, a really long way from his sober-sided role in The Rifleman. In fact, I wouldn't have believed Connors' giddy performance if I hadn't seen it.
Thanks to the several twists, unusual subject matter, and the manic Connors, the movie remains an oddly memorable potboiler, despite the lowly origins.
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