Stanwyck is an amitious malcontent. She's married to Sterling Hayden a handsome, complacent L.A. cop who's content to do what he's been doing: clearing the streets of "gunsels." This lack of ambition drives Stanwyck to desperate measures. She tries to convince Raymond Burr, who will ultimately decide who gets the job, that her husband deserves it and that she's willing to do "anything" to see that he gets it. Burr allows her to give her all, than decides to give the job to Royal Dano. When Stanwyck asks him why, he answers that Hayden isn't up to it. But Dano is? The answer is yes and is final.
So, like a thwarted Lady McBeth, she ... well, I'll let you see for yourself. The performances are all topnotch, with special honors to Hayden, Dano and Burr. Thoroughly engrossing.