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Stranded in Boldon City when the carnival with which she is a dancer leaves town to avoid creditors, Lane Bellamy is befriended by deputy sheriff Fielding Carlisle, who has been sent to close down the carnival. Learning that the attractive Lane intends to get a job and settle in Boldon City, Field invites her to dinner and helps her obtain a waitress job and a place to stay. He is observed by his mentor, Sheriff Titus Semple, who plans to get Field elected to the state legislature. A woman such as Lane has no place in Titus' plans, and he encourages Field to marry socialite Annabelle Weldon, who lives on Flamingo Road, the town's wealthy section. Titus then has Lane fired from her job. When she tries to place an ad in the town newspaper, editor Doc Waterson explains that Titus will prevent her being hired anywhere in town. After Lane angrily confronts Titus and announces that she will stay in Boldon City if it kills her, Titus frames her for streetwalking, and she is sent to prison. There, another convict recommends that on her release, Lane ask Lute-Mae Sanders, the owner of a roadhouse, for a job. Lute-Mae likes Lane's spirit and, despite her misgivings, hires her. Titus again tries to have Lane fired, but Lute-Mae refuses to be bullied. One day, Lane meets political boss Dan Reynolds, who falls in love with her. He asks her to go with him when he leaves for New York and Washington, D.C. and, even though she is still in love with Field, Lane agrees. Meanwhile, with the help of Dan and Titus, Field, whose unhappy marriage has driven him to drink, is elected. When he encounters Dan and Lane in Washington, he learns that they have been married. After Dan and Lane return to Flamingo Road, Titus and Dan become adversaries when Dan refuses to run Field for governor. Titus then arranges to frame Dan for illegally using convict labor in his construction company. Field is so disturbed by Titus' tactics that he goes on a binge, and Titus abandons him. When Dan calls a meeting of his associates, Titus barges in and threatens all of them with jail if they do not agree to run him for governor. Only Dan refuses to give in to Titus' blackmail. Later, when Lane explains why Titus hates her so much, Dan mistakenly believes that she still loves Field and leaves town. Late one night, Field visits Lane, who tells him she no longer loves him. He then informs her that Titus framed Dan and, learning that she really loves her husband, kills himself in her house. Dan is indicted for peonage--illegally using prisoners to work without wages in business--and Waterson advises him to leave town. An angry Lane then follows Titus to Lute-Mae's and demands at gunpoint that he clear Dan's name. During the ensuing struggle, Titus is killed. Later, the death is ruled an accident, and Dan and Lane are reunited.