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Roumanian immigrant George Iscovescu sneaks onto the Paramount studio lot in Hollywood to sell a story idea to director Saxon. Desperate for $500, George convinces Saxon to listen to the true story of George's life for the past year: At the outbreak of World War II, George flees from Europe to Mexico, from where he hopes to gain easy entry into the U.S. Due to the quota system, he is told that he must wait five to eight years to immigrate. Discouraged by this news, George checks into the dollar-a-day Esperanza Hotel in a border town. He meets his old flame and former dance partner, Anita Dixon, who tells him that she got citizenship by marrying an American and leaving him shortly thereafter. George, a gigolo and con man, immediately embarks on the same scheme, as many Americans have flooded into town for the Independence Day bullfight and celebration. George's victim is Emmy Brown, a naïve schoolteacher from Azusa, California, who is on a field trip. After George secretly sabotages the repair of the school bus, Emmy is forced to spend the night in the lobby of the Esperanza with her students. At first resistant to George's charm, Emmy soon falls for his artful words of love and they marry the next morning. Although Emmy has to return to Azusa with her students, George must wait four weeks before he will be allowed into the States. He immediately resumes his affair with Anita, and together they plan to go to New York after he leaves Emmy. To their surprise, Emmy reappears a week later, having been given leave by her school principal and been loaned the school bus with which to take her honeymoon. George is disconcerted by her presence and because immigration inspector Hammock is investigating suspicious marriages, he takes Emmy out of town immediately. After a long drive they end up in another small town that is celebrating multiple weddings. The high spirits of the place affect George and he falls in love with Emmy despite himself. Out of consideration for her, however, he pretends to have injured his shoulder on their honeymoon night so that she retains her innocence. After a week they return to the Esperanza where a jealous Anita discovers that George now intends to let Emmy down slowly. Anita reveals George's sordid past and his motives to Emmy, who is shocked, but nonetheless protects George when Hammock interrogates her about their "quickie" marriage. Emmy blames herself for being duped and leaves for Azusa, but crashes her car along the way. News of her accident reaches George and he illegally drives across the border. George successfully evades the police and arrives at the hospital in time to restore Emmy's will to live. Knowing that she will recover, he escapes the police again and slips into the Paramount studios to tell Saxon his story, intending to repay Emmy's savings that she had given him with the money he earns from the studio. Hammock catches up with George at the studio and forcibly returns him to Mexico. One day, Hammock finds a dispirited George, who has broken off all relations with Anita, and informs him that he did not record his previous arrest and that he is free to enter the U.S. Hammock then leads George across the border, where Emmy waits to rejoin her true love.