skip navigation
She Couldn't Say No

She Couldn't Say No(1954)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

Soon after returning to America from England, where she lived for many years, oil heiress Corby Lane buys a car and heads for Progress, Arkansas. Upon arriving there, Corby, who is intent on repaying the town for helping her father obtain a life-saving operation for her when she was two, inquires about Dr. Robert Sellers, her childhood physician. Finding the doctor not at home, Corby pushes the "emergency only" button next to his front door, causing a loud alarm to sound. At a nearby river, "Doc," who has just snagged the elusive fish Hercules, hears the noise and, abandoning his catch, races back to his house. Though irritated by Corby's impatience, Doc invites her to his office. Corby, who is startled by Doc's youth, introduces herself as "Miss Johnson" and claims that she is on her way to California. Corby then asks Doc what he would do if she gave him $5,000, and after he replies that he would lock her up as a lunatic, she announces that she is staying in Progress for a few days. The bemused Doc helps Corby settle in at Mrs. McMurty's boardinghouse, then invites her out that evening. At Harley's Tavern, Doc gets Corby drunk on moonshine and tries to trick her into revealing her true identity. Before he gets very far, however, he is summoned to the Jordan farm to deliver a baby. At Doc's insistence, the intoxicated Corby goes along and makes a mental note when new father Dick offers to pay Doc with hogs. The next morning, a hungover Corby chats with fellow boarder Otey Chalmers, who happily admits he is the town drunk and is grateful for the bad moonshine Harley supplies him. Meanwhile, Doc and his young friend, Digger, drop by the Jordan farm and are shocked to find Dick knee-deep in baby supplies, which have been sent by an anonymous donor. Instead of being grateful for the gift, Dick worries about how his wife Barbara will react to the immense clutter. Just then, Doc is called to Mrs. McMurty's and learns that Otey received a case of scotch and collapsed in his room shortly after. Doc treats Otey for alcohol poisoning and complains to Corby about the "idiotic Santa Claus" who sent him good liquor. To Corby's dismay, Doc and Sally Watson, his smitten neighbor, then go out on their regular Friday night movie date. When Doc returns home, Digger tells him that he snuck a peek at Corby's car registration and knows that her real name is Lane. Doc looks Corby up in his deceased father's files and finds that, twenty years before, the town took up a collection to pay for her operation. Despite the late hour, Doc invites Corby for an ice cream soda at Ad Meeker's general store and, after revealing he knows her identity, kisses her. Doc then tells Corby that, like the rest of Progress, the Jordans prefer bartering to paying cash, and that Harley has been cutting Otey's moonshine with water in order to wean him from alcohol. When Doc suddenly proposes marriage, Corby is infuriated by his "presumptuousness" and throws her jacket at him before storming out. Unaware that the jacket landed in the rummage sale bin, Corby is stunned to see Sally wearing the coat at church on Sunday and assumes that Doc gave it to her. Later, Doc hears that veterinarian Joe Whelan is fulfilling his life-long dream of moving to California, as someone has given him a car. Because Joe is the only vet in the area, Doc files theft charges against him to keep him in Progress. When Joe angrily demands his freedom, however, Doc relents and drops the charges. At the river, Doc confronts Corby, who is fishing with Digger, and while he accuses her of meddling, she demands to know how Sally got her jacket. After the two push each other into the water, Doc leaves to tend to a sick hog. Soon after, every one in town receives an envelope containing thousands of dollars in cash, and Progress' windfall becomes national news. Now flush, Sally departs for business school in St. Louis, while Otey announces he is "taking the cure" in Kansas City. Before Otey can get out of town, however, the place is besieged with anxious people looking for easy money. Finally realizing the folly of her good intentions, Corby confesses all to the growing crowd, but is met with hostility. When a fight breaks out, Doc shows up to stop it and apologizes to the people, who then leave town without further incident. Later, Corby rings Doc's emergency bell, and after he again drops Hercules and comes running, she apologizes for her foolishness. Doc then proposes, and Corby accepts with a kiss.