A former IRA member must face the consequences of betrayal in The Informer, a classic thriller by John Ford.
The film opens in 1922, after the end of the Irish War of Independence (1919 - 1921). The Black and Tans (the nickname for the British reserve force for the Royal Irish Constabulary) are on the hunt for Frankie McPhillip (Wallace Ford), an IRA member wanted for murder. There's a £20 reward for his capture, tempting the simple-minded Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen) to turn him in. Nolan was booted from the IRA six months ago for not carrying out a revenge killing, and he's been struggling to make ends meet ever since - as has his prostitute girlfriend, Katie Madden (Margot Grahame). They dream of starting a new life in America, and the reward money for Frankie's capture is just enough for them to afford to do so. On the other hand, Nolan and McPhillip are old friends, and McPhillip's mother (Una O'Connor) has always looked out for Nolan. Howvever, when Nolan runs into McPhillip at a pub and learns of his plans, he can no longer resist temptation and tells the Black and Tans where McPhillip can be found. They find McPhillip at his home and kill him during a shootout, right in front of his mother and sister Mary (Heather Angel). Word quickly spreads that the Black and Tans were informed, and IRA leader Dan Gallagher (Preston Foster) orders said informer to be hunted down - not only for the sake of the cause, but for Mary, who is in a relationship with Gallagher. As the manhunt commences, Nolan is torn between clearing his guilty conscience and fear of the consequences of his actions.