A better than expected low budget "Columbia Pictures" production from prolific director, Fred Sears.
A group of convicts from San Quentin Prison are sent to a work farm as a reward for good behaviour. Three of them decide to take advantage of the relaxed security and pull an escape.
The three are Johnny Desmond, Richard Devon and Roy Engel. Desmond wants to get back to L.A. because his wife sent him divorce papers. Devon wants to retrieve the 120 grand he has hidden from a robbery. Engel is a mobster who wants in on the 120 large.
Desmond, an ex-Air Force pilot, comes up with a plan to get them all away pronto like. They will break out, steal the work farm's truck and head for the small local airport. There, they will steal a light plane and fly to safety in Canada.
Once in Canada, Devon says he will have his father dig up the loot and send it to them.
The aircraft they steal however has only half the fuel they need. Devon and Desmond are forced to make an emergency landing on a bit of highway. Engel did not make the trip because Devon had pushed him out the door at takeoff. He had no intention of making a three way split of his cash.
The two hi-jack a car and head for L.A. Engel, somewhat bruised and banged up, has survived the toss out. He is of course slightly annoyed with this course of events and vows revenge. Since he knows where the other two are going, he heads off in pursuit.
Desmond and Devon hit L.A. and lay low in a low rent motel room supplied by Devon's buddy, William Bryant. Devon sends Bryant out to make contact with Devon's father, Ken Christy. He is to bring the cash to the motel hideout.
The Police have been keeping tabs on Devon's father, Ken Christy, since Devon's escape. Turns out that the Police are not the only one watching Christy. Engel has managed to get back to L.A. and has rounded up his old gang. They know Devon must contact the old man in order to get the loot.
Bryant delivers the message to Christy. Bryant then has the bad luck to be grabbed up by Engel and his boys. They would like to have little talk. A rather severe beating is applied and Bryant spills Desmond and Devon's location. They will simply park outside and wait for the old man to show.
While this is all going on, Desmond has gone looking for his soon to be ex. He runs into the sister in law, Merry Anders, instead. Anders tells him the place is lousy with John Law. Let her take a message to her sister. Desmond gives her his motel address and heads back.
The ex wants nothing to do with Desmond and tells Anders she'll call the Police if Desmond shows his face. Anders hits the motel to give Desmond the news.
At the same time Devon's father appears with a paper bag of cash. It is only 14 grand though. The rest is hidden in various places around L.A. It was all Christy could grab in a hurry.
The door is now kicked in and Engel and one of his gunmen rush in towing a battered Bryant. They grab up the bag and head back out not knowing it is short 100 grand. As Engel and company jump into their car a passing prowl car sees their guns. A chase starts and a shotgun blast hits the getaway car. Up goes Engel, the gunman, and the bag of money as the car explodes.
Devon Desmond, Christy, Anders and the bleeding Bryant pile into their car and beat a hasty retreat.
They decide to head for Mexico to hide out. They drop off Christy to gather the rest of the cash. He can meet them at a hotel in Mexico Devon knows.
Devon "insists", Anders come along as she can identify him. As for Bryant, Devon knows a Mexican doc who will fix him up. They make it over to Tijuana and grab a room.
Everything with the plan now starts to goes wrong as the doc wants his cash up front. Devon fixes the Bryant problem by dropping him several floors down a disused elevator shaft. Then Christy calls with more bad news, they need to come back to the States in order to get the cash.
Without giving away the actual ending, suffice it say there is a bout or two of flying fists and a gun battle with the Police, before the nasty types are caught.
Though put together on an obvious shoestring budget, director Sears gets the most out of cast and crew.
Director Sears managed to crank out 54 titles between 1949 and his death in 1957. These include, RUMBLE ON THE DOCKS, Miami EXPOSE, CHICAGO SYNDICATE, CELL 2455:DEATH ROW, THE 49th MAN, and two great sci-fi classics, THE GIANT CLAW and EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS.
The screenplay was by Bernard Gordon. He worked on several noir like, THE CASE AGAINST BROOKLYN, CRIMEWAVE, CHICAGO CONFIDENIAL and FLESH AND FURY.
The D of P was Ben H. Kline. His work included, ROSES ARE RED, HALF PAST MIDNIGHT, THE JUDGE, TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO, STRANGE ILLUSION, DEADLINE FOR MURDER, SHOOT TO KILL, JEWELS OF BRANDENBURG, THE CRIMSON KEY, THE INVISIBLE WALL and of course, DETOUR. (b/w)