Young, secretly engaged couple Liz (Natalie Wood) and Owen (Richard Anderson) meet in a secluded lovers' lane, where they are watched by unstable Harold Loftus (Raymond Burr). Loftus attacks and knocks out Owen, then abducts Liz and hides her in a shack in a brickyard. At police headquarters later, Owen makes a report to Capt. Ed Bates (Brian Donlevy), who realizes Liz is the daughter of a cop, Capt. Dan Taggart (Edmond O'Brien). A search begins as Liz struggles to keep Loftus at bay.