During a five-minute movie intermission, Jackie Wales leaves a theater, gets into a car, changes into a messenger's outfit, rings the doorbell of a man named Mansfield, shoots him, then rushes back to the theater and his date.
After her father is shot, Laura Mansfield sees the killer hurdle the house's gate. At the police station, she looks at suspects in a lineup. One of them is Jackie, who later offers her a ride. Laura lets him drive her home, then sees Jackie hurdle the gate as her dad's murderer did.
The police lieutenant in charge ignores her tip, so Laura dates Jackie to keep an eye on him. He loses money gambling and goes to a nightclub called the Vogue to get a payoff from the men who run it. Instead, the boss, Armitage, brutally beats Jackie while the club's manager, Stretch Norton, starts the music of a player piano to drown out the noise.
Laura is frustrated by Lt. Brewster's lack of action in solving her father's case. She takes a job as a cigarette girl at the club to learn more about Jackie's employer. Alice Wentworth, a gold-digging woman Armitage loves who flirts with Stretch, goes to Jackie with a plan. Write a letter confessing to the murder, implicating Armitage for hiring him, then get a $5,000 blackmail payment that Alice will split with him. The scheme works.
From the time they spend together, Laura ends up falling in love with Stretch and confessing her true identity. What she doesn't realize is that Stretch is the actual boss of the gang; Armitage works for him. Alice is persuaded to double-cross Jackie, then is killed by Armitage at the club. Jackie is also found dead.
Stretch then drugs Armitage, puts a gun in his hand and acts as if his partner is about to betray him, getting Laura to shoot him. Laura's life is in peril, at least until Lt. Brewster and his men rescue her. Laura admits she should have trusted the police to do their job in the first place.
Joyce MacKenzie as Laura Mansfield
Stanley Clements as Jackie Wales
Hurd Hatfield as Stretch Norton
Albert Dekker as Armitage
Myrna Dell as Alice Wentworth
James Flavin as Police Lt. Brewster
John Dehner as Frank Niles
Richard Emory as Police Sgt. Mulcahy
Buddy Swan as Arthur - Blue Streak Messenger
Bert Wenland as Dave, Blue Streak Messenger
Franklyn Farnum as Arthur Mansfield, Laura's Father
Steve Gibson and the Redcaps as Singing Group
Critic Hans J. Wollstein panned the film, writing, "In Destination Murder, former starlet Myrna Dell plays one of those hard-bitten, blonde schemers that no true film noir could be without. Unfortunately, both she and Stanley Clements, the only other interesting character in the film, are killed off fairly early on in the game. The result is a rather unsatisfying crime thriller where the 'Why?' is more of a mystery than the 'Who?'" Herb Rau of The Miami News called the premise ridiculous and plot confused.