powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
While former heavyweight boxing champion Slug Cassidy trains for a comeback at a mountain retreat, he discovers logger Hal Donovan, whose punch is as strong as anything Slug has encountered. Realizing that he can no longer revitalize his own career, Slug decides to manage Hal and renames him "Chopper" Donovan "the man that everybody hates." Slug and his trainer Spider successfully promote Hal as a cold-blooded, ruthless fighter, even though Hal is kind and shy. One day, while Hal is out walking, he comes to the aid of Kay Conrad, a dance teacher who is being accosted by her landlord for non-payment of rent. Though the landlord recognizes Hal and runs away, Kay does not know that her rescuer is a fighter. Hal soon discovers that Kay's father is a former boxer who was badly injured in the ring, and that Kay hates everything about the boxing profession. After telling Kay that he is just a logger, Hal starts to see her and the two fall in love and plan to marry. Because Kay is in desperate need of money to finance a move to the West Coast for her father's recuperation, Hal decides to help. When she sees his picture in the paper, however, she wants nothing further to do with him, even though he has decided to quit the ring. Hal secretly goes to Kay's father and gives him the money for the move "as one fighter to another," then leaves town, accompanied only by a stray dog he has adopted. After Kay's father lets her know about Hal's generosity, she has a change of heart, but when she tries to find Hal, Slug and Spider tell her that he has gone. Some time later, Hal arrives on the West Coast broke, using the name Hal Smith, and is hired by Bill "One-Punch" Fagin, a former boxer who runs an athletic club. Hal soon becomes the idol of all the children at the club, who admire his athletic ability and his adherence to principles of good sportsmanship. When a boxing match is announced in town between a fighter now being trained by Slug and Spider and "the local champion," members of the club try to convince Hal to enter. Hal is reluctant, but when he learns that Kay's father needs an expensive operation, he decides to take the challenge. Slug has not forgiven Hal for walking out on him, though, and will only let Hal enter the match if he promises to lose. The money Hal will make for throwing the fight is so badly needed by Kay that Hal agrees. He soon begins to hate himself for his decision, however, when word spreads through town that the fight is fixed, and Hal's young friend Dickie Martin begs him to deny what people are saying about him. On the day of the fight, Kay goes to Hal and says that she has changed her mind about boxing and tells Hal not to throw the match because her father would not want to have an operation financed by a fixed fight. Happy at last, Hal easily defeats his opponent in the ring, regains the respect of his friends and knows that with a shot at the title now within reach he can easily finance Kay's father's operation.