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In 1941, in Shale City, Colorado, youthful city bookkeeper Andrew Long is unable to balance the city's yearly budget and discovers that city clerk Art Slocumb and puchasing agent Sam Savage are trying to cover up for embezzlement. Honest Andrew is suspended when he insists that he be allowed to balance the budget. Though despondent, Andrew nonetheless prepares to attend a dance with his girl friend, Peggy Tobin, and returns to his room at Mrs. Grondos' boardinghouse to dress. He is surprised when his hero, nineteenth century general and former President Andrew Jackson materializes in his room and demands some Maryland rye whiskey. Andrew rushes to the corner drugstore for the liquor and cancels his date with Peggy. Jackson is still in his room when he returns and informs him that Andrew's great, great grandfather saved his life, and he has now come to help Andrew. When Peggy shows up with her last-minute date, Randall Stevens, she becomes hysterical to learn that she has been stood up for the ghost of Andrew Jackson. Neither Peggy nor Randall can see Jackson, and assume that Andrew is drunk. The next day, gossip about Andrew's strange behavior spreads through the town and is reinforced when people see him apparently talking to himself. Jackson, dressed in full historical military regalia, is very real to Andrew, however, and accompanies him to his meeting with the mayor. Mayor Ollie Lancaster offers to give Andrew a raise on condition that he drop his petition to investigate the discrepancy in the budget, but Andrew refuses to accept the bribe. Jackson notices that Lancaster is using a recording machine, but as he is unfamiliar with the device, he has no idea that the conversation is being recorded. After receiving advice from physician Clarence Upjohn about how to handle Andrew, Peggy confronts her boyfriend and discovers he is absolutely sober. She demands that if Jackson does not leave Andrew, then whe will leave him, and to Andrew's surprise, Jackson goes. Later, Andrew is arrested for embezzlement and encounters his ghostly friend again in his jail cell. Jackson has brought with him the finest thinkers from American history: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Chief Justice John Marshall, Jesse James and an unknown volunteer soldier named Private Henry Bartholomew Smith. Andrew explains to his guests that he has known for some time that various government officials have been buying land that they knew was slated for a new street and selling the property for a personal profit. The historical figures remind him that democracy is not a gift, but a responsibility, and with their assistance, Andrew represents himself at his trial. The ghosts, meanwhile, investigate the mayor's office to find evidence of his corruption. Franklin discovers the record player, whose usage Jackson demonstrates. To their surprise, the machine plays back a conversation from that morning, in which the corrupt officials pressure an unwilling Judge Ormond Krebbs to find Andrew guilty in court. The evidence at the trial weighs heavily against Andrew until his ghostly friends relay to him the secret conversation. Leaving Krebbs's name out of the transcription, Andrew repeats the details of the incriminating conversation to the court until prosecuting attorney Beamish calls for a recess. By the time they return, all the corrupt officials have resigned from their posts pending prosecution. The charges against Andrew are then dropped, and he is promoted to chief city treasurer. As his last official duty, Krebbs officiates at Peggy and Andrew's marriage. On their wedding night, Andrew, although grateful to his hero, is unable to relax until Jackson agrees to leaves. As he wanders into the night, Peggy is finally able to see her husband's mentor.