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Mordecai Jones is an old-fashioned confidence man equipped with a glib tongue and a heart of pure larceny. Widely known throughout the South as the Flim-Flam Man, he is always seen carrying the beat-up satchel that contains the tools of his trade: decks of playing cards, dominoes, punchboards, play money, etc. One day he meets Curley Treadaway, a Carolina farm boy who has gone AWOL from the Army after slugging his "big-mouthed Yankee sergeant." United by a common need to survive, the two renegades join forces once Mordecai has assuaged Curley's conscience by promising to cheat only other cheaters and the greedy. Following several successful swindles, they "borrow" a car from pretty Bonnie Lee Packard, a 17-year-old with whom Curley immediately falls in love. When the police spot the stolen car and the local sheriff gives chase, Mordecai races through the town, crashing into store windows, upsetting fruit trucks, and terrifying startled citizens. Having wrecked the car, they steal a truckload of moonshine whiskey which they quickly peddle for cash and supplies. Curley, meanwhile, has been having clandestine meetings with Bonnie, who lovingly urges him to become respectable. Eventually, despite his affection for Mordecai, Curley decides to give himself up to the Army; but before he can do so he and Mordecai are captured and jailed. Curley escapes, gets some dynamite boxes, and threatens to blow up the courthouse unless Mordecai is released. Trapped, the sheriff agrees. Once Mordecai has supposedly left town, Curley reveals that his threat was just another confidence trick--he never had any dynamite. As Curley is arrested, Bonnie and her influential father promise to see that he is treated fairly. Watching from the shadows is Mordecai, who has merely walked around the corner. "Thank you son," he murmurs and then he hops a freight train slowly moving out of town.