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When champion sharpshooter Frank Butler, his personal manager Charlie Davenport and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West troupe of headliners arrive in Cincinnati to put on a show, the town breaks out in celebration. The arrival of the troupe brings joy to everyone except Foster Wilson, a persnickety hotel owner who will be housing the troupe. Wilson later joins in the celebration, however, when Annie Oakley, a bedraggled sharp shooting tomboy, and her ragtag gang of children check into the hotel. Impressed by Annie's shooting abilities, Wilson quickly arranges a match between her and Frank, whom he calls a "swollen-headed stiff." Annie falls instantly in love with Frank, and the show gets underway when Buffalo Bill introduces the two sharpshooters. The crowd heckles Annie, believing that she is no match for Frank, but to everyone's astonishment, she outdraws her opponent and wins the contest. Angered by the defeat, Frank refuses to accept Buffalo Bill's suggestion that Annie join the touring show as his assistant. Annie eventually persuades Frank to let her join, and the two sharpshooters become a successful team. After shedding her country clothes and making herself more attractive, Annie tries to impress Frank by learning how to read. While a romance blossoms between Frank and Annie, Buffalo Bill grows increasingly concerned that his show is losing money and appeal. Realizing that his troubles stem from his competitor, Pawnee Bill, Buffalo Bill decides to spice up the show by giving Annie top billing. Annie does well in a solo performance, but her success prompts Frank to doubt his star status and long for the days when Annie was a "sweet, simple little girl." After the show, Annie is introduced to Sitting Bull, an Indian chief who decides to adopt Annie as his daughter and finance the show. Following her induction into Chief Sitting Bull's tribe, Annie receives a farewell letter from Frank, who believes that Annie has lost interest in him. A short time later, Buffalo Bill takes his cowboy and Indian show to Europe, where Annie and Chief Sitting Bull become an instant sensation. Frank, meanwhile, joins Pawnee Bill's troupe. Despite the show's critical success in Europe, Buffalo Bill continues to lose money. When Buffalo Bill realizes that his star is lovesick, he decides to pack up the show and return home. In New York, Annie learns that Frank is now consorting with debutantes, and she is certain that he will reject her. Buffalo Bill tries to rescue his show by negotiating a merger with Pawnee Bill and by selling Annie's valuable medals. Annie and Frank eventually reconcile, but when Frank sees all her awards, he becomes jealous of her success and they argue over who is the better shooter. Annie and Frank decide to settle their argument in a shooting match, but before the match, Chief Sitting Bull, hoping to forge a permanent reconciliation between the two sweethearts, persuades Annie to deliberately lose. The strategy works, and Frank, with his pride restored, finally proposes marriage to Annie.