To his chagrin, by-the-book Los Angeles policeman Joe Friday has been assigned a flippant, street-wise new partner, Pep Streebeck. They are investigating a series of murders, which leads them to the religious cult P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy). Infiltrating the group, they rescue Connie Swain, and she and Friday fall in love. When Connie identifies respected community leader and the police commissioner's friend Reverend Jonathan Whirley as the head of the cult, Friday attempts to publicly arrest the man and is suspended. Connie is kidnapped in retaliation and when Friday is reinstated, he and Streebeck lead the raid on the P.A.G.A.N. headquarters and Friday's heroics save Connie and bring Whirley to justice.