An idealistic reporter and his brother, Ward Jansen and Jack Jensen, investigate the events surrounding a murder in an effort to exonerate a man on death row, Hillary Van Wetter. Van Wetter has been jailed for the murder of an unscrupulous local sheriff, Thurmond Call.
Call had previously stomped Van Wetter’s handcuffed cousin to death. Van Wetter is now on death row and awaiting execution. The Jansens are helped by Ward’s colleague, Englishman Yardley Acheman, and Charlotte Bless, a woman whom Van Wetter has never met but who has fallen in love with him and is determined that he should be released and that they should marry. In prison Van Wetter consistently receives correspondence from her.