powered by AFI
As the town of Rimrock prepares for its annual footrace with neighboring town Big Bend, the citizens express disappointment with their runner, Milton Wurtle. Therefore, when hair tonic salesman Wilbur McMurtry stops in town and demonstrates his extreme speed by running for a stagecoach, townspeople Sharkey Dolan and Billy Caswell and mayor Maribel Matthews chase after the stagecoach and arrest Wilbur on trumped-up charges. After releasing their previous captive, Milton, they lock him in a barn and reveal that they have kidnapped him in order to enter him into the race. Later, Maribel's niece, Libby, feeds him in the barn, explaining that the race is very important because if they lose to Big Bend, they will be losing their homes, businesses and all their money. Wilbur succumbs to Libby's charm and tells her that he will consider running. During a town meeting, citizens place bets on the race, and after Maribel convinces Big Bend's representative, Chauncey, to give them five to one odds, she bets the town hall, school house, cash and livestock. Suspicious, Chauncey instructs his entry, blacksmith Emory Tuttle, to court Libby in order to spy on Wilbur. After Emory makes sure that Libby overhears him "admitting" that he is in love with her, she tells him the feeling is mutual. Wilbur enters the barn when he spies them kissing, and Emory tells Wilbur to stay away from Libby, as she is going to marry him. The next morning, Wilbur begins training by racing against Sharkey, and after he loses, Maribel tells the nervous townspeople that he lost on purpose to throw off Emory. Soon after, Wilbur stops eating, and Maribel hires a veterinarian, Overholt, to examine him, not realizing that Overholt is crooked. When Libby visits him, Wilbur shows her an anonymous threatening letter that was thrown through the barn window, and Libby agrees to escape with him while the armed guard takes his morning break. The next morning, Wilbur escapes, but is quickly captured again by Sharkey. Meanwhile, Overholt instructs Emory to give Wilbur a potion that will make him unable to run. Later, in the stable, Wilbur angrily accuses Libby of framing him, and threatens to refuse to run unless he is allowed to attend the town's pre-race dance that night. As soon as Wilbur leaves the stables to go to the dance, however, Emory sneaks in and drops the potion in his water bucket, which the horse, Jasper, drinks. At the dance, Libby becomes jealous when Wilbur dances with other women, but soon makes up with him and again promises to leave town with him. When Wilbur returns to the stable, he sees Jasper on the ground and notifies Overholt. The veterinarian attempts to exhaust Wilbur by instructing him to walk Jasper all night. Just before the race begins the next morning, Maribel finds Wilbur and, realizing that his hair tonic can be used as a rejuvenator, uses it to wake him, but then forgets to bring it along with them to the race. She sends Billy back to town to get it, but Billy's horse breaks a shoe and he is forced to ride Jasper to the race. Realizing Jasper is still too tired to get him back in time, Billy gives some of the hair tonic to the horse. Meanwhile, at the race, Wilbur stops to rest, sees a rattlesnake and, scared, runs quickly enough to pass Emory. He then slows down again and sits on a porcupine, which spurs him on to greater speeds. At a spot near the finish line, Libby and Billy watch Emory and Wilbur approaching and see that Emory is in the lead. They give Wilbur the rest of the tonic, causing him to pull ahead and win. Later, Libby informs Billy and Sharkey that Rimrock has offered Wilbur the mayorship. A drunken Billy asks the Rimrock crowd if they want Wilbur as their mayor, and the cheering is unanimous. Maribel then accepts Billy's proposal of marriage.