Thomas Crimmin (McGoohan), the new warden in a Dublin prison, believes in capital punishment. Two condemned men ("quares" in prison slang) are on death row and one kills himself. Crimmin visits Kathleen (Syms), the other prisoner's wife, and learns the real circumstances behind her husband's crime. He then tries to get the man a reprieve after finding his own views changing. Based on a play by Brendan Behan.