A small town in Northern Italy lives in terror of a local gang who specialize in the kidnapping of wealthy young men. The gang operates with impunity as parents often pay ransoms immediately, which has lead Police Commissioner Jovine (Lee J. Cobb, 12 Angry Men) to resign in frustration. His incoming replacement Cardone (Enrico Maria Salerno) insists the gangsters must be resisted, declaring he will never give into their demands at any cost. Despite striking back at the gang in several operations, Cardone's methods are continually challenged as indiscriminately violent by District Attorney Aloisi (Jean Sorel, The Day of the Jackal). Undeterred, further major arrests seem to only prove Cardone correct. But as Cardone continues to brush up against the town's ruling web of corruption, he risks losing his family, and himself, to his war on crime. When his own son is kidnapped by the gang, Cardone must decide how much he is willing to sacrifice for his principals.