Cast & Crew
Pop Bartlett, owner of a roadside tavern, is outraged to find a young woman alone with a drunken man in one of his cabins. He throws the couple out and bemoans the decline of values in modern society. Meanwhile, a slick procurer named Slavick drives a pretty young woman to the side of the highway and leaves her there with instructions not to come back empty-handed. The woman soon hitches a ride with a passing motorist. Later, Slavick comes into Pop's tavern with a group of loose women, who order whiskey as Pop looks on disapprovingly. After the women leave, Slavick proposes that Pop let his girls use his cabins to entertain clients, and when he brags about his success as a pimp, Pop orders him to leave. On his way out, Slavick passes Pop's son Bob, and he and his girl friend Billie take Bob with them as they drop the young women off at various points along the highway. Slavick then explains how his profitable business works, and Bob is impressed by Slavick and Billie's worldly ways. Slavick assures him that they will make lots of money together. Billie find's Bob's youthful innocence appealing, but when she goes to the tavern and tells Pop she is in love with his son, Pop insults her. After Billie leaves, Bob criticizes his father for not being modern, and breaks his date with his girl friend Barbara, whom he now considers an unsophisticated kid. That afternoon, at a picnic, Slavick approaches Barbara as she is watching Bob and Billie together, and invites the young couple out for dinner and dancing. At the restaurant, Slavick slips a drug into Bob and Barbara's drinks, and he and Billie take the unconscious couple to one of the cabins and photograph them in bed together. Slavick then shows the photographs to Pop and threatens to show them to the authorities, who would then revoke Pop's liquor license. Pop begs Slavick not to ruin the young couple's lives, but Slavick announces he is moving his girls in the next day. After Pop goes to the cabin and hits Bob, Billie comes in and remorsefully tells Pop it was all a frame-up. Slavick then enters and shoots Billie for betraying him, and Bob picks up the gun and shoots Slavick, who makes it into the bar before collapsing in front of the horrified girls. Pop tells the girls to go home to their families. Later, Pop and Bob make peace, and Pop speaks of the importance of keeping our nation's highways clean.
This film was also released as Honky Tonk Girl, which was the title on the viewed print. Although the opening credits indicate that Patrick Carlyle copyrighted the film in 1940, the film is not included in the Catalog of Copyright Entries. On the viewed print, the opening credits were preceded by a lengthy written prologue about the moral perils facing "today's" youth. The film opens with a police captain warning viewers about the dangers of the highway and proclaiming that the story was drawn directly from official police records.