In 1880s New York City, newspapers were engaged in a free-for-all competition, with the respectable practitioners such as Joseph Pulitzer leading a horde of sheets that included every kind of yellow rag imaginable. Newspaperman Phineas Mitchell (Gene Evans) is so appalled by the brand of journalism practiced by The Star, the newspaper where he works, and its publisher, Charity Hackett (Mary Welch), that he gets himself fired. But instead of looking for another job, he decides to start up his own newspaper, The Globe, which will adhere to principals he has developed across his career. This immediately puts him on a head-to-head collision with The Star and Hackett, who scoffs at Mitchell's ideals but is frightened of his resourcefulness and ideas -- all of which combine to make the feisty little under-financed newspaper a more honest and exciting read than her own publication. And Mitchell's embrace of cutting-edge technology, such as the Linotype machine, and innovations such as by-lines and newsstands only heighten her mixed feelings of admiration and fear. When Mitchell seizes upon the Statue of Liberty, newly-delivered from France but without a base to stand on (or an appropriation from Congress for the money to build one), The Globe takes on this cause. A circulation war -- and then an all-out war -- breaks out between the two newspapers, with fraud, violence, bombings, and other mayhem visited on Mitchell's enterprise.
by Bruce Eder synopsis