In the autumn of 1934 an armored truck loaded with the special paper used in printing United States currency is hijacked while in route to the Bureau of Engraving in Washington D.C. Since the authorities rightly sense that this hijacking is the first step in a massive counterfeiting scheme they call in federal agents from all over the country to brief them. Including Eliot Ness.
Meanwhile, in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, there's an explosion in the high-voltage power transformer next to the prison. Hans Dreiser, an expert forger doing a sentence of 20 years to life, escapes over the wall with the aid of a rope. A car is waiting for him outside the prison grounds.
On the following day, Ness and Harold Brookson from Kansas City (the two closest federal agents) meet with officials of the power company. An ex-convict named Benny Joplin had been the inspector of the transformer. Ness is suspicious of Joplin and has him tailed. Eventually he hops on a bus bound for Oakland, CA.
Meanwhile, Hans Dreiser has arrived in San Franscisco and is taken to an antique shop in Chinatown called Chow Lee's. The owner of the shop and mastermind of the counterfeiting scheme is Melanthos Moon. He immediately puts Dreiser to work on the engraving plates in a spartan room in the store basement.
Ness has trailed Benny Joplin to his home in Oakland. His wife says she hasn't seen him but Ness knows she's lying. He's guessed right. Benny was right there in the house all the time. He calls Moon for some money he'll need to go on the lam. Then he arrives at Chow Lee's where Moon hands him $10K. After Benny departes, Moon tells henchman Paddy to kill him and bring back the money. Unknown to all, the Untouchables have followed Benny to the antique store. They see him go inside but don't see him come out. They do, however, see Benny's body in the morgue, when it's fished out of San Francisco Bay the next night.
Ness then pays a visit to Mr. Moon at his antique store. He asks about Benny Joplin. Moon denies knowing him but then Ness says that he was seen entering the shop on the previous night. Moon asks if Ness is accusing him of murder. Ness replies that the thought had crossed his mind. After Ness departs Moon knows that he can no longer keep Dreiser on the premises so he has henchman Monk take him to a hotel.
Moon then packs his bags for a flight to Chicago but not before ruining Rico's attempts at following him. He arrives at the Montmarte Cafe for a meeting with Frank Nitti and the boys. He shows them some of the counterfeit bills which he's had printed. Nitti is impressed and Moon manages to Jew him down to a 50-50 split of the proceeds. Because Moon needs front money, real money, Nitti calls Guzik and has him deliver half a million bucks.
Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Dreiser is beginning to drive Monk crazy with his eccentricities and taste in music. He smashes Dreiser's classical records and goes out fo a drink. Dreiser sees an ad in the newspaper for the San Francisco Opera. Carmen, his favorite opera, is playing that night. Because he has no money, he grabs one of the counterfeit $100 bills he's just printed up, and pays for his box seat with this bill.
After the performance, Moon finds Dreiser but is so enraged that the engraver used one of the counterfeit bills that he strangles him to death. Henchman Paddy dumps the body but Ness and the Untouchables are closing in fast. The opera house manager has informed them about the bill given to him by Dreiser. The Untouchables head to Moon's antique store.
Moon decides to make a break for it. Rico and Hobson gun down Paddy. Moon hides in the basement of his shop. The basement contains fireworks. Ness breaks in looking for him. They have a shootout which causes the fireworks to begin going off. Moon dies in the gun battle and the Untouchables beat feet before the entire place blows up. The greatest counterfeiting scheme in U. S. history has been thwarted. Share this article with your friends