War crimes commissioner Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) has a mission to track down the errant Nazi war criminals and bring them to justice. One way is to use Konrad Meinike (Konstantin Shayne) as bait by freeing him and following him to his contacts. Meinike, driven by guilt over his actions during the war has become a Christian. Once free he immediately goes to a small Connecticut town and makes contact with his former Nazi associate Franz Kindler (Orson Welles) who is posing as Professor Charles Rankin. Kindler is hiding out as a teacher with a lovely new wife Mary (Loretta Young). When Meineke arrives in town to appeal to Kindler to give himself up, the professor responds by strangling his old associate and hiding the body in the nearby woods. Kindler believes himself safe because no one has an idea of his former identity. Wilson arrives in town following Meinike, posing as an antiques dealer, and starts sniffing out the dangerous Kindler and a confrontation of wills and cunning ensue.