Luke Jackson is sent to a Florida prison camp for cutting the heads off parking meters one drunken night. His unquenchable spirit makes the other prisoners idolize him. Luke becomes notorious for his escapes from prison. During the longest such escape, Luke mails a magazine to the other prisoners with a photograph in it of him with two beautiful women, which the prisoners receive with awe and delight. However, Luke is again caught and beaten before being returned to the prison. He receives immediate care from his friends as they tell him how amazed they were at his picture. The delirious Luke, however, admits that the picture was a fake and it cost him a whole week's pay. Afterward, as he struggles to recover, Luke's will is broken in front of the other prisoners. As punishment for trying to escape, he has to dig a large hole in the prison camp yard, then fill it in and repeat the process, as his comrades look on with shame. At night, an exhausted Luke collapses in his hole and begs the bosses for mercy and not to be hit again. His friends hear this and lose the last of the idealized image they had of him. One prisoner pulls out the magazine with Luke's picture in it and tears it up. Luke is hauled back into the bunk house, where he struggles to his bed alone.

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