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Threatened with eviction by his landlord, Nick Kargas, penniless shoemaker Amos Logan turns to his son Harry for help. The disabled Amos tells Harry that unless he raises enough money to pay their back rent within three months, they will lose their business. Thus entrusted, the bumbling, naïve Harry, who has a crush on a model who appears in billboards advertising Burton Shoes, takes a job carrying luggage for Kargas. Unknown to Harry, Kargas is competing in a cross-country walking contest that has been sponsored by John Burton of the Burton Shoe Company. When Harry arrives first at the the race's "kick-off" barbecue, he is mistaken for Kargas, the world's champion walker, and believes that the crowd's cheers and applause are meant for him. After Kargas shows up, Harry is scorned by the crowd and is fired by Kargas. Burton's daughter Betty, who is Harry's beloved "billboard girl," witnesses his rejection and immiedately feels pity for him. Betty then finds him staring with adoration at one of her billboards, and he nearly faints with joy when he sees her in person. Touched by Harry's humility and gentleness, Betty convinces him to sign up for her father's $25,000 race. To Harry's dismay, however, he is assigned to share a hotel room with Kargas and nearly misses the opening of the race when Kargas, harangued by his roommate's nervous, bumbling activities, feeds him several sleeping pills. During the long race, Harry suffers many hardships, including sliding down an enormous cliff on a section of fence, and serving time on a chain gang for stealing a farmer's fruit, but stays in the competition until only he and Kargas are left. On the final lap of the race, Kargas, having crossed the desert first, arrives in Sand City, Utah, confident that he has beaten Harry. Soon after, however, an approaching tornado is spotted, and everyone in the town, including Betty and her father, rush for cover. A decimated, shoeless Harry then arrives in town and, unaware of the tornado, tries to take a bath in a nearby barbershop. After his clothes blow away, Harry runs outside in a shower curtain and pulls Betty from a second-story window moments before the building collapses. Angry and desperate, Harry throws rocks and pebbles into the storm, and it suddenly dies. Harry then wins the race in California and, with the $25,000 prize money, saves his father, who has been watching his progress on movie house newsreels, marries Betty and has a bumbling baby boy.