Thieves' Highway is set in San Francisco and the surrounding countryside. Richard Conte plays Nick Garcos, an American GI who returns from WWII to find that his father Yanko (Morris Carnovsky), a produce trucker, has lost the use of both legs because of a fight with crooked truck driver Mike Figlia (Lee J. Cobb). Nick is a clean-cut guy who was set on marrying his sweetheart Polly Faber (Barbara Lawrence). Instead, Nick gets embroiled in his father's feud with Mike, buying a truck and falling deeper into racketeering. He delivers a truckload of apples to Mike as part of a scheme to expose his cheating. A prostitute, Rica (Valentina Cortesa), tells Nick that Mike has his own plot to trap him. Nick and Rica help Mike's henchmen learn that Mike has also been cheating them, and Nick eventually gets his revenge. But Nick has permanently lost Polly because of his involvement with the gangsters and his change in personality from a good guy to a more sinister businessman. Director Jules Dassin was blacklisted from Hollywood for supposed communist sympathies after making this 1949 picture, but he went on to have success with more caper movies while in exile in France.
by Michael Betzold synopsis