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The Walls of Jericho

The Walls of Jericho(1948)

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In the late 1910s, Dave Connors is working as county attorney in Jericho, Kansas, when Julia Norman asks for him to help her with her father Jeff, who is sleeping off a drinking binge at Gotch McCurdy's livery stable. Dave is on his way to the railroad station to meet an old friend but agrees to help as he respects Jeff's abilities as a lawyer. McCurdy is a belligerent type and, after threatening Dave, gets into a fight with a stablehand, seriously injuring him. Dave helps Julia's father and proceeds to the station to meet his old friend, Tucker Wedge, editor and publisher of the local newspaper, The Clarion , who is returning to town with his bride Algeria. The train is three hours late and while waiting, Dave again encounters Jeff and Julia, who explains to Dave that they are leaving Jericho for good because a distant cousin of Jeff's has died in Delaware and willed her estate to them. The train eventually arrives and Dave welcomes Tucker and the glamorous Algeria. At a supper at the Connors' boardinghouse, Dave introduces Algeria to his wife Belle, Belle's mother, Mrs. Dunham, who owns the boardinghouse, and several local dignitaries, including Judge and Mrs. Hutto and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ransome and their daughter Marjorie. Later, Algeria tells Tucker that she is impressed by Dave but that the women are "dreadful." She wonders why Dave and Belle married and has detected that Belle is a secret drinker. Tucker and Algeria host a large party to which Dave and Belle are invited, but only Dave attends. Algeria is very interested to learn that Dave may run for Congress and invites him to tell her more about his political ambitions. After Dave spurns Algeria's advances, Algeria tells Tucker that Belle will hinder Dave's political career. In a front page story in his newspaper, Tucker blames Dave for not reacting to his three-month campaign to free Jericho from vice and bootlegging activities. Judge Hutto then tells Dave he will have to placate Tucker if he is going to run for Congress but Dave refuses to believe the issues Tucker is raising are significant problems in Jericho. Later, the Wedges invite the Connors to a garden party, but Belle is too drunk to attend. Having realized that she cannot have Dave for herself, Algeria has begun to make her husband over and informs Dave that Tucker has been persuaded to run for Congress. Dave then meets Julia again and learns that her father died shortly after leaving Jericho and she has returned to work as a lawyer in Judge Hutto's office. Julia accompanies Dave to a political rally in the country, and a romance develops between them. Julia, who has long loved Dave, suggests to him that the scheming Algeria could be his real opponent. To Algeria's considerable disappointment, Dave later announces that he is not running for Congress. Aware that his decision is motivated by their relationship, Julia leaves Jericho and takes a job in Kansas City. Tucker wins the election and the Wedges move to Washington, where they enjoy great success. A few years later, Dave resigns as county attorney and runs for the Senate against Tucker. During the campaign it is revealed that Dave's campaign manager, Tom Ransome, is not legally married. Upset by the revelation, Marjorie runs away from home and encounters a drunk Gotch McCurdy, who attacks her. She hits him with a shovel, then jumps on a passing freight train. Before he dies in the hospital, McCurdy implicates Marjorie. Julia wires Dave that she must see him, and when he arrives in Kansas City, he discovers that Marjorie is there with Julia. The young girl agrees to return to Jericho if Julia goes with her, and Dave asks Julia to help him defend Marjorie in court. When the case is tried, Algeria becomes resentful of all the free publicity Dave receives. However, during the trial Dave is sued for divorce, with Julia named as correspondent. Unaware that Algeria has master-minded the suit, Dave goes to reason with Belle, but she shoots him. Julia continues Marjorie's defense alone while Dave recovers, claiming that her client is being deprived of a fair trial by Dave's absence. Julia puts Algeria on the stand and asks her why she was at the Connors' house when Dave was shot and why she persuaded Belle to file for divorce during the trial. Julia then puts herself on the stand, admits that she is in love with Dave, but insists that there has been nothing reprehensible in their relationship. Tucker finally realizes that Algeria has deliberately ruined his friendship with Dave and decides not to run for the Senate, thereby dooming Algeria to remain in Jericho. Julia wins Marjorie's acquittal and recommences her romance with Dave.