In her first starring role, 18-year-old Ann Rutherford plays Joan, a singer in a cheap waterfront café. Gambling-ship proprietor Ronny (Frank Albertson), on the lam from the police after accidentally shooting a treacherous underling (Grant Withers), falls in love with Joan, and he with her. Under her good influence, he decides to turn himself over to the cops and face the consequences, only to discover that he's been exonerated by his partner McFee (Charles C. Wilson). Ladling on the sentiment with a steam shovel, Waterfront Lady is a lot less hard-boiled than its title suggests. It was also the final feature-film release from Mascot Pictures before that studio merged into Republic.