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In the rural South, Clint McKinney and his younger brother Spud talk their steadfast, straight-laced father Aaron into letting them go on a hunting trip with their slightly older, rambunctious friend Blackie Scantling. Although the boys's prim mother Cora views Blackie as a shiftless, womanizing scoundrel, and believes that her boys are squandering precious time by pursuing animals rather than their studies, she reluctantly agrees to the trip. As the three head out, accompanied by Blackie's hounds, Clint declares that the jaunt into the wild away from the family farm will mark his passage into manhood. While following the trajectory of the river, the three come upon fresh-faced Dony Waller, the daughter of eccentric dreamer Fiddling Tom Waller, and her friend, Dave Wilson, who is intent on taming a wild bronco in the river currents. Soon after, the blustery Hog Peyson appears and worries that the hunters will endanger his hogs, who graze along the river. Later, the hogs invade the boys's camp and after Blackie's hounds chase them away, Peyson appears, gun in hand, threatening to kill the dogs for biting his pigs. Clint and Blackie quickly react by jumping Peyson, pulling the rifle from his hand and sending the dogs after him. After Clint shoots a turkey, he decides to give it to Mrs. Waller to prepare, using the bird as an excuse to see Dony once more. At the Waller farm, Blackie steals a kiss from Dony, but she demands commitment, not just romance. Later, Mrs. Waller warns her daughter that Blackie is not the marrying kind. While at the farm, Spud befriends the family's skittish puppy. Spud, Clint and Blackie are forced to make a hasty exit when Blackie brings a tomcat into the house and the terrified animal breaks Mrs. Waller's good luck plate. That night, the Wallers' shy pup follows Spud to camp, and the boy names him Spot. When Spot finds Dave, thrown from his horse and lying unconscious in the river with a broken leg, Blackie sends Clint to town to fetch Doc Cole. There, Clint become jealous when he spots Nita Stringer, a young girl whose romantic overtures he had earlier rebuffed, strolling down the street with Terminus Dooley. Doc drives Clint to the Wilson farm, and soon after, the neighbors congregate to help set Dave's leg and cheer him up. When the congregation turns into a celebration, the couples begin to dance. Clint's jealousy is further aroused when Nita pairs with Terminus, and after storming out of the barn, Clint takes a swig of whiskey from Peyson's jug. Sussie Belle, Peyson's alluring new bride, asks Blackie to dance, but the music ends abruptly when a drunken Clint picks a fight with Terminus. Soon after, the McKinneys arrive and Blackie dunks Clint in the water trough to sober him up. Later, Sussie Belle lures Blackie into a deserted shack to seduce him, but he rejects her advances. Noticing his wife's absence, Peyson suspects that she has shared a romantic tryst with Blackie and so points his rifle at him. To save Blackie's life, Dony jeopardizes her own reputation by lying that she, not Sussie Belle, was with Blackie. Aaron then steps forward and sternly orders the hot-headed Peyson to drop his gun and go home. Impressed by his father's courage, Clint decides to return home with his parents. Before leaving, he apologizes to Nita, who then admits that she was using Terminus to make Clint jealous. Cora, deaf to Mrs. Wilson's entreaties to allow Spud to keep his beloved pup, carries her slumbering son to the wagon, leaving his dog behind. When Spot lopes alongside the wagon, however, Spud jumps down and embraces him, and Cora relents and welcomes the dog to their family. Later, Blackie seeks out Dony in the woods and, after informing her that he has at last decided to settle down, asks her to marry him. At dawn, the McKinneys arrive at their farm, happy to be back home.