Cynical Los Angeles Private Investigator Philip Marlowe always falls for a sob story. Eight years ago Moose Malloy and cute little redhead Velma were getting married - until Malloy was framed for armed robbery. Now he's out and he wants Velma back. Marlowe meets Malloy one hot day in Hollywood and, out of the generosity of his jaded heart, agrees to help. Dragged from one smoky bar to another, Marlowe's search for Velma turns up plenty of gangsters with a nasty habit of shooting first and talking later. And soon what started as a search for a missing person becomes a matter of life and death . . .