The Lawless was director Joseph Losey's second feature-length film. The story concerns a group of Mexican-American migrant workers who are subjected to all sorts of abuse and intolerance by their California bosses. A violent clash between whites and Latinos at a dance results in a torrent of bigotry. Seemingly the only Californian willing to champion the workers' cause is crusading newspaperman Larry Wilder, and soon he too is the victim of senseless mob violence. The story boils to a manhunt for a fugitive fruit-picker who has been accused of fomenting the aforementioned riot. Director Losey, producers William Pine and William Thomas and screenwriter Geoffrey Homes (aka Daniel Mainwaring) are to be commended for tackling a controversial issue in an honest, no-nonsense fashion; even so, the film ends in standard Hollywood-liberal fashion with a white man coming to the rescue.