In a small town, an old lady (Thelma Ritter)in a large Victorian home has a visit from a man just out of the army.(Audie Murphy).He's in town looking for a job and a place to stay, and he knew the woman's late son, so she gives him room and board and small tasks to do. Slowly though, he becomes more and more aggressive and paranoid until it's obvious he's a psychopath that wants to get rid of her and take over the house.
A school crossing guard reprimands the PTA president for careless driving. He is later dismissed from his job on the basis of an anonymous note accusing him of being too friendly with little schoolgirls. His daughter's boyfriend takes up his cause, assuming that the PTA president sent the note out of spite. It turns out that the note was sent by a woman living across the street from the school, who knew the guard from another city, and feared he would expose her past life. Story is told with the same incident repeated from several different viewpoints.