Joe Hilton (Warren Douglas), long on looks and ambition but short on ethics, takes immediate advantage when his gambler brother is killed by a rival. Hilton takes over his late brother's operation, quickly and illegally building up a fortune. His friends plead with Hilton to quit the rackets before it's too late, but he pays no attention (and who can blame him?) The story comes to a surprising conclusion, avoiding the usual last-minute-reformation cliché and thereby retaining its integrity throughout. Below the Deadline is proof enough the director William "One Take" Beaudine was much more than a prolific hack.