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At Arlington National Military Cemetery, children ask a nun why Lieutenant Richard L. Perry, whose grave they pass, is not listed in the guidebook. She replies that no doubt he did some unusual service for his country. Perry's story then begins. On the night of April 22, 1901, at a White House reception, President William McKinley meets with Perry, who had an amazing record for getting out of scrapes when he served under Admiral Dewey in the Battle of Manila. McKinley sends Perry on a secret mission to investigate an epidemic of bank robberies in the Midwest, which the Secret Service has been unable to stop. At the Capitol Cafe in St. Paul, Perry, using the name Joe Patrick, romances singer Lil Duryea. Lil's stepbrother Batiste, the owner of the cafe, has committed the robberies with his partner Jock Ramsay, a childish practical joker who loves Lil. To gain their confidence so that he can find the man higher up who has supplied the inside information, Perry robs a jewelry store. When Lil confesses her love for Perry to Batiste, he offers Perry the chance to join them. After Vice President Theodore Roosevelt advises McKinley to put police around every Midwest bank, Batiste plans to rob a bank in Baltimore. Perry almost resigns his commission because he loves Lil, who demands that he stay, but after a confrontation with Jock, Perry convinces Lil that he must go. During the robbery, two officers and Batiste are killed, and afterward, Perry and Jock are sentenced to hang. As they wait in adjacent cells, Perry convinces Jock that the man higher up has betrayed them. Jock then blurts out his identity: United States Bank Examiner Henry Maxwell, one of McKinley's advisers. Perry writes to McKinley, but before the letter arrives, the president is assassinated. When Lil visits Perry in prison, he confesses his ruse, and she angrily refuses to help because she thinks that he just used her, but after thinking about him, she talks to Admiral Dewey, who takes her to President Roosevelt. After ascertaining the truth of her story, Roosevelt calls the warden just after Jock's execution and stays Perry's. He returns to Lil in St. Paul and she accepts him.