With Joan Blondell and James Cagney lending apt cast personalities, director Lloyd Bacon has woven from an original story by Robert Lord a forthright narrative about two pieces of human flotsam.
Most of the action is set against the background of a Portuguese fishing village on the Pacific coast. Both Blondell and Cagney turn in deftly confected performances.
Plot gets its motivation from the efforts of a double-crossing cracksman (Cagney) to escape the penalty of gang law. In his flight from the torpedoes Cagney winds up in San Francisco. There he is spotted by an underworld tipoff (Frank Craven) and the word is passed on to the mob back east. Meanwhile he meets the girl (Blondell), who has just decided to call it quits with the wayfaring life she’s been leading and accept a proposal of marriage from a Portuguese fisherman located 100 miles south of Frisco. Cagney elects to join the girl on her trip to the groom.
Cagney settles down in the village and the fisherman, capably played by Victor Jory, goes about making the marriage arrangements. In the interim the girl falls for Cagney and there’s talk between them of going away together. Overnight Cagney becomes leery of getting himself entangled and unbeknown to her prepares to scram. From here the action starts building to a tense climax.