In October of 1932, Chicago Globe reporter Carl Edmunds is in a speakeasy telling colleague Barney Rich that he's unearthed a story about the scrap metal business that will rock the Windy City. Edmunds then steps outside and gets shot dead by a stray bullet from a gun battle between two rival gangs. At least, that's the way it's supposed to appear. Eliot Ness and the Untouchables arrive on the scene in short order and discover pieces of cotton batting. The gunmen were firing blanks at each other but they fired a real bullet at Edmunds. Barney Rich, a witness to the shooting then informs Ness about what Edmunds told him regarding his story.
Meanwhile, a cross-country flight has a stopover in Chicago. Stepping off this plane is Floyd Gibbons, radio commentator and globe trotting reporter. He's an old friend of Carl Edmunds and when he sees the headlines about Edmunds' death Gibbons decides to begin an investigation of his own.
The scene then cuts to Vince "the Enforcer" Dastille who is just arriving at a meeting of the crime syndicate being held in the Decatur Export-Import Co. The top man is John Brecker who castigates Dastille for bumping off Edmunds. Brecker also tells Dastille that the days of bootlegging and huge profits from it will soon be over once FDR is elected president. Now, the syndicate is taking over the scrap metal business and making enormous profits selling scrap metal to the Japanese, who are at war in Manchuria. as well as several European countries where the winds of war are blowing. Dastille isn't swayed. He thinks the Mob should stick to what it does best--running booze.
Gibbons drops in on Ness at his office. He wants to solve the Edmunds killing too. Ness tells him it's a police matter and then begins tracing cars and doing ballistics tests. Gibbons isn't swayed by Ness and begins investigating things from the point of view of the dead Edmunds. He pumps Barney Rich for information but in the meantime one of the cars involved in the shooting gets fished out of the river by Captain Johnson.
Gibbons decided to pay a call on Kitty Edmunds, the widow of his deceased pal. She ain't exactly grieving and he notices two drinks in her apartment. Gibbons tells Kitty he'll return later and take her out to dinner. After he exits, who should pop out of Kitty's bedroom door but Dastille. Kitty used to be a singer in one of his clubs and it seems she still carries a bit of a torch for him. He asks about Gibbons, Kitty says she's having dinner with him later.
Gibbons then goes to a park to kill some time. He's roughed up there by a couple of Dastille's goons. Gibbons isn't phased and meets Kitty Edmunds for their dinner date. Dastille meanwhile rubs out Willie Drummer who did a lousy job of ditching the car used in the shooting of Carl Edmunds.
After leaving the restaurant, Gibbons is met by Rich in his hotel room. Rich informs him that all of the independent scrap dealers are selling out to the crime syndicate and that Dastille is the muscle. Gibbons then pays a call on Dastille who tells him there's no story unless it's that of the funeral of a nosy, one-eyed reporter named Floyd Gibbons. After Gibbons leaves, Dastille orders his hood, Solly, to rub him out. Solly goes to Brecker instead who pays Dastille a call in his pool hall. Solly then pumps Dastille full of lead. His way does have a certain simplicity.
Meanwhile, the Untouchables find the cab driver who picked up Willie Drummer after he ditched the car and he makes a positive identification. Gibbons then goes to the Edmunds apartment and confronts Kitty. She admits to telling Dastille that her husband was onto the story but she thought Dastille would only pay him off instead of shooting him. Then Gibbons gets a phone call. It's from Solly in a phone booth on the street below. He's taking Gibbons to see Brecker and he's not taking no for an answer.
Ness then drops in on Kitty. He informs her of Dastille's death. She tells him that Floyd Gibbons has been taken to see Brecker. At the meeting, Brecker gives Gibbons $50K as a payoff to keep quiet. Gibbons takes the money but he has no intention of remaining quiet. Brecker tells his boys, Solly and Monk, to kill Gibbons before he hits the door.
The Untouchables arrive in the nick of time. They gun down Solly and Monk. Brecker gets it too just before he can shoot Gibbons. Gibbons gives Ness the fifty grand from Brecker to be used for the policeman's welfare fund. The next day Gibbons' story about the crime syndicate's link to munitions in Manchuria and Europe was printed in the Globe--under the byline of Carl Edmunds. Share this article with your friends