A rich woman and a calculating insurance agent plot to kill her unsuspecting husband after he signs a double indemnity policy. Against a backdrop of distinctly Californian settings, the partners in crime plan the perfect murder to collect the insurance, which pays double if the death is accidental.
Career criminal Johnny Clay recruits a sharpshooter, a crooked police officer, a bartender and a betting teller named George, among others, for one last job before he goes straight and gets married. But when George tells his restless wife about the scheme to steal millions from the racetrack where he works, she hatches a plot of her own.
Jeff Bailey seems to be a mundane gas station owner in remote Bridgeport, CA. He is dating local girl Ann Miller and lives a quiet life. But Jeff has a secret past, and when a mysterious stranger arrives in town, Jeff is forced to return to the dark world he had tried to escape.
A married woman and a drifter fall in love, then plot to murder her husband.
Two hit men walk into a diner asking for a man called "the Swede". When the killers find the Swede, he's expecting them and doesn't put up a fight. Since the Swede had a life insurance policy, an investigator, on a hunch, decides to look into the murder. As the Swede's past is laid bare, it comes to light that he was in love with a beautiful woman who may have lured him into pulling off a bank robbery overseen by another man.
Al Roberts, a New York nightclub pianist, hitch-hikes to Hollywood to meet his girlfriend Sue. The gambler he's riding with, Charles, unexpectedly dies. Afraid the police wouldn't believe the truth, Al takes the man's identity. In a gas station, he gives a lift to Vera, a woman that knew Charles and blackmails Al with tragic consequences.
Three bad girls (a down-and-out stripper, a drug-running killer and a corporate powerbroker) arrive at a remote desert hideaway to extort and steal $200 million in diamonds from a ruthless underworld kingpin.
Gumshoe Philip Marlowe is hired by the oafish Moose Malloy to track down his former girlfriend. He's also hired to accompany an effeminate playboy buy back some jewels. When the exchange results in the playboy's murder, Marlowe can't leave the case alone, and soon discovers it's related to Malloy's. As he gets drawn deeper into a complex web of intrigue by a mysterious blonde, the detective finds his own life in increasing jeopardy.