After his release from prison, gangster Eddie Kagle (Paul Muni) is killed by his partner in crime, Smiley Williams (Hardie Albright). Kagle ends up in Hell, where "Nick" (Claude Rains) offers him a chance to leave and avenge his own death in exchange for help with a problem. Kagle looks exactly like Judge Frederick Parker, an upright man who is causing Nick distress because he is entirely too honest. Nick fears that Parker/Kagle may cause him more anxiety in future, as he is running for governor of his state. Nick wants to destroy Parker's reputation and Kagle readily agrees to have his soul transferred into Parker's body.