Columbia's Chain Gang combines biting social commentary with good old-fashioned melodrama. Reporter Cliff Roberts (Douglas Kennedy) intends to expose political corruption by posing as a convict and joining a prison chain gang. While a "guest of the state," Roberts gets the lowdown on how cheap convict labor is being brutally exploited by certain higher-ups. Unfortunately, his ruse is discovered, and soon Roberts is desperately clambering through treacherous hills and dismal swamps, with police bloodhounds hot on his trail. Producer Sam Katzman claimed that Chain Gang was "torn from today's headlines," but he was always saying things like that.