The Big Boss is Jim Maloney (Otto Kruger), who pulls all the political strings in an unnamed major metropolis. Maloney's chief antagonist is scrupulously honest "reform" governor Bob Dugan (John Litel). The fact that Maloney and Dugan are actually brothers, orphaned in childhood and raised separately, adds both texture and poignancy to their current adversarial relationship. Intending to reveal his fraternal ties to Dugan at a crucial moment in the latter's anti-corruption campaign, Maloney is ultimately defeated by the forces of Righteousness. Outside of the always dependable Otto Kruger and John Litel, the film's best performance is delivered by the underrated Gloria Dickson as a fairly realistic newspaperwoman.