Alcoholic Bill Cannon's (Dan Duryea) past sins catch up with him in Chicago Calling. Cannon's daughter Nancy (Melinda Plowman) is seriously injured in an accident while out of town, and his wife Mary (Mary Anderson) has promised to call him back as soon as she learns the result of Nancy's operation. Unfortunately, Cannon's phone service is cut off for nonpayment, forcing him to go begging for the $50 necessary to square his phone bill. Only through the kindness of waitress Peggy (Marsha Jones) and telephone engineer Jim (Ross Elliot) is Cannon able to make the crucial call to his wife. Alas, the operation has proved unsuccessful. Will the impact of this tragedy push Cannon over the brink, or will it inspire him to seek out a new lease on life?