In this WW II era drama, a timid, pacifistic clerk is befriended by a gutsy circus barker while they are in the military. Tensions arise between the friends after they fall for the same woman. The circus man is captured by the Germans and shortly thereafter, the clerk marries the girl. In time, the clerk finds courage he never knew he had and becomes a legendary hero. The war ends, but by the time, the clerk is returned to civilian life, he has come to like killing others. Unable to adjust, he becomes a gangster, something he conceals from his wife. Years pass and he runs into his old friend the circus barker, who has become the owner of his own circus. By this time the gangster's wife has learned of his profession and she teams up with the ringmaster to help straighten him out. When all else fails, she turns him into the cops. To earn money while he serves his time, the woman joins the other man's circus. It's all innocent, but the gangster, having just busted out of prison, doesn't realize this.