The Economist - Recap
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Chicago in the summer of 1932. It's the height of the Great Depression. 12 million are unemployed and they are spending a lot less money. With less money to spend, the price of booze goes down. And it keeps going down. The Whiskey Syndicate, headed by Vincent "the Moor" Tunis holds a meeting. To make a point, Tunis asks underling Charlie Grach for a toothpick. Charlie hasn't got one. Tunis roughs him up and points a gun at his head. Charlie still can't give Tunis a toothpick because he hasn't got one. "Neither can the speak operators," points out Tunis. The speakeasy owners can't give the Syndicate extra money for booze because they don't have the money. It's a simple matter of economics. Tunis then says that the Syndicate will fight economics with economics. They'll dry up the market and this will send the price of booze back up where it belongs.
Tunis and his associates then gather up all the surplus whiskey in Chicago and store it in a spot Tunis already has picked out--an abandoned Navy ammunition vault Tunis has been renting for years. Charlie Grach is put in charge of the operation but it seems as though he has decided to pay Tunis back for his earlier ill-treatment. He uses a dozen syndicate men to load the booze into the ammo vault but has two men he hired on his own off the unemployment line to an abandoned construction site just four blocks away. They put all the booze in a huge basement on the site. The job takes two weeks and after it's completed Charlie pays off the two workers. He shoots and kills George Dahlstrom but Myles Henning manages to escape.
Myles Henning, fearing for his life, flees to Washington D.C. with his wife and baby and joins the ill-fated Bonus Army which is marching on the nation's capitol. Meanwhile, Eliot Ness and the Untouchables are waiting to intercept a convoy of booze coming into Chicago from Canada. Tunis and his boys beat them to it and set the booze on fire. Then they begin beating up the suppliers of yeast for the families who make booze in their tenement homes. Rico says that it's almost as though Tunis is working for them. Ness knows that Tunis is only working for Tunis and tries to figure out what his game is.
Tunis discovers Charlie Grach's game soon enough when he takes the other members of the syndicate to the ammo vault and discovers that only about 150 cases of whiskey are there. The rest are missing. Grach is brought it and he puts the squeeze on Tunis. Tunis gets angry and begins beating him up but that won't bring back the missing whiskey. Grach says he'll reveal the location for half a million bucks to be delivered the following day at 4:00 p.m. when he has one foot on a plane going to New York. Tunis, who's outsmarted himself in this one, has no choice but to agree.
Driving away from the meeting, Grach begins suffering from blurred vision probably as a result of a concussion from being thrown into the whiskey cases by Tunis. He crashes his car and is rushed to the hospital with a serious injury. He begins babbling to a nurse about a $2 million dollar horde of booze. She phones both Ness and a newspaper reporter about this news. Ness arrives at Grach's hospital bed but learns nothing before the mobster passes away.
But the newspapers have a field day with the story about the secret horde of booze suggesting that perhaps this once Ness has taken a bribe. Tunis believes this too and shows up at Ness's office trying to cut a deal. Ness throws him out. U.S. Attorney Beecher Asbury offers to give Ness a vote of confidence but he declines it because then the newspapers will think Asbury is in on it with him. The only solution is to find the stash of stolen whiskey.
On July 14, George Dahlstrom's body is discovered. Through his union, Ness discovers that Charlie Grach was looking for laborers to hire for a job. They also discover that Grach had hired Myles Henning too and that he's gone missing. Through the VFW they discover that Henning has gone to Washington with his wife to join the Bonus Army. Ness and Rico head to D.C. leaving Hobson behind to hold the fort down.
The two Feds naturally search for Henning in the tent city set up by the Bonus Marchers. Word of this gets to Henning pretty fast. His wife doesn't trust the government and urges her husband to make a deal with Tunis. So he contacts Tunis and for th price of $5K he agrees to tell him the location of the stolen whiskey. They agree to meet the next day in the fictitious city of Roslyn (presumably a suburb of Washington) where Tunis will pay Henning his money.
Henning then departs for the meeting but Ness eventually locates his wife. He grills her and finally gets her to reveal the location of her husband's upcoming meeting with Tunis. The next day, Henning and Tunis show up for the meeting. Tunis has his two hoods in the car drive away and even throws away his gun to put Henning more at ease. Then he pulls out an envelope fille with case. Henning reveals the location of the whiskey. Tunis moves to hand the envelope to Henning but deliberately lets it slip from his grasp. When Henning bends over to pick it up, Tunis begins kicking the crap out of him.
Then the two hoods return in the car but Ness and Rico arrive on the scene just in the nick of time. There's a shootout and the two hoods go to meet their maker. Tunis, who's thrown away his weapon previously, wisely surrenders and is taken into custody. Henning decides it's better to make a deal with the government that with mobsters and reveals the location of the whiskey. Ness and the Untouchables raid the place and smash the hoard of whiskey. Ness's name had been cleared again and the syndicate had suffered a devastating ecomomic crash.