Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster) returns home after a few years of knocking around the country following his divorce from good-time girl Anna (Yvonne De Carlo). Getting his old job back driving an armored car, and not even convincing himself that he's making a new start, he also wants his old wife back.
When he finds Anna, he quickly learns that she is involved with gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). Nonetheless, they carry on a clandestine affair, with Steve foolishly believing that Anna will return to him. Even after she marries Slim, Steve, with her encouragement, masochistically clings to this doomed obsession.
So when Slim catches them together, Steve ad libs plans for an armored car robbery that includes Slim. The two rivals form an uneasy and untrusting collaboration, but Steve and Anna plan to double cross Slim. However, the title of Robert Siodmak's film noir gem is, not incidentally, Criss Cross.