It’s Friday afternoon in Phoenix. Marion Crane is meeting her lover Sam Loomis at a hotel. Sam has a lot of debt, and until he is more financially secure, he won’t be able to marry Marion.
After their romantic rendezvous, she goes back to the real estate office where she works. Marion’s boss is a man named George Lowery. Mr. Lowery is off meeting with an oil tycoon. When they arrive at the office, the tycoon tells Marion he’s purchasing a house for his daughter and paying for it with cash. Mr. Lowery is concerned about leaving $40,000 in the office over the weekend, so he asks Marion to take it to the bank. Marion can go home afterward.
Instead of going to the bank, Marion just goes straight home. She is going to keep the money for herself. She has stuffed it into her purse and packs a suitcase. Then she gets on the highway and drives out of Phoenix. She drives until she’s so tired, she is forced to pull over. Marion soon falls asleep on a lonely stretch of road.
She is awoken the next morning by a highway patrolman. The officer is suspicious of her behavior, but then lets her go.
Marion is afraid he will remember her, so she goes to a used car lot and trades in her vehicle for a different one. As she continues to drive along the California highway, she gets caught in a fierce storm. Marion misses the turnoff to Sam’s place and ends up stopping at a quaint little motel. The charming proprietor welcomes her and offers to fix her dinner.