Dan Matthews: Broderick Crawford
Mike Richards: Gene Roth
Joe Mason:Wally Richard
Ray: Leonard Nimoy
The Highway Patrol is forced to deal with a variation on the „Protection Racket,“ when men pay money week after week to keep their jobs or face consequences which can be deadly.
Mike Richards, a family man, is severely beaten by Sandy and his henchman Ray when he refuses to pay money each week in order to keep his job at the railroad/freight yard. He is found bloody and near death by the Highway Patrol. After Mike is transported to the hospital, Dan Matthews questions Mike’s wife who is obviously afraid to divulge any information regarding Mike’s former arrangement with Sandy and Ray for fear for her life.
Mike’s brother Joe Mason arrives and blames the incident on the Highway Patrol, stating that if they did their job this would not have happened to decent people like his brother. Meanwhile, back at Sandy’s place, the foreman of the freight yard is called and reminded not to talk to the police about the „accident“ that Mike Richards just had. Ray calmly looks on, but reminds Sandy that if Mike Richard’s dies, they will be in over their heads and in serious trouble.
Back at Mike Richard’s home, Joe tries to convince Mike’s wife to tell him what is going on and why anyone would want to hurt his brother. Despite his sister-in-laws pleading, Joe plans to take the law into his own hands.
Dan Matthews visits the railroad/freight yard and although he questions the foreman and one of Mike Richard’s fellow workers, is clueless still about the attack. This fellow worker then calls Mike’s wife and threatens to „finish the job“ on her husband if she talks to anyone about her husband’s debt to Sandy. Joe orders Mike’s wife to stay silent, but since no one at the railroad/freight yard knows him, he goes there to find the people who hurt his brother.
Joe Mason arrives at the Railroad/freight yard under the disguise of job hunting. He talks to one of his brother’s coworkers who says he knows who can help him. Joe is sent to Sandy’s house and tells him he is desperate for a job to help his ill mother. Sandy offers Joe some cash, which he initially declines. Ray orders him to take the money, saying „..if Sandy says take, you take.“ Joe restates that he needs a real job but that there were no openings at the freight yard. Ray tells him to go back and tell the foreman that he is a friend of Sandy’s and to take care of him. Sandy reminds Joe that this will cost him, while Ray emphasizes that their is nothing illegal about their deal and that Sandy is simply Joe’s agent. However, it will cost Joe ten-dollars a week to keep this job. Joe asks Sandy and Ray what will happen if he misses a payment. Sandy warns him that they know where he works and that they will find him. There is no place where Joe can hide from them. Not even by going to the cops.
After Joe leaves, Sandy orders Ray to follow him and find out what is truly going on. In the meantime, the Highway Patrol receives news that Mike Richards has died from his injuries.
Ray is next seen running through the freight yard to Sandy’s car. Ray has discovered that Joe Mason is a „plant, a phoney“ and that he is a relative of Mike Richards. Ray wonders is Joe is working for the cops. Sandy tells him to bring Joe back to his apartment.
At the freight yard, Joe desperately tries to reach Dan Matthews to inform him of Sandy’s illegal operation. Ray is waiting for him and pulls a knife out ordering him to „walk or bleed.“ At Sandy’s apartment, they beat Joe until he is unconscious and then load him into Sandy’s car.
Dan locates the worker who referred Mike and Joe to Sandy and inform him that he is about to be implicated in not one but possible two murders. This worker, Louie, tells Matthews the whole story.
Sandy and Ray arrive at the yard, planning to dump Joe’s body there. When they see Matthews they start running and eventually shooting.
Sandy is shot and killed in the ensuing gunfire.
Ray throws up his hands in defeat and surrenders to Dan and his officer. He informs them that Joe is in Sandy’s auto. The story ends with Dan Matthews informing Joe that he is lucky to be alive.
(Thanks to Grace for the summary!)