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On a train en route to the small town of Fallbridge, Maine, Dr. Joseph McRory, the town's physician for thirty-five years, is about to go on a two-month vacation, when he meets an easy-going doctor from California named Jim Pearson. Unaware that Jim is his temporary replacement, McRory takes an immediate disliking to the young doctor because of his flippant attitude. Upon their arrival in Fallbridge, McRory, realizing who Jim is, makes plans to replace him as soon as possible, then goes fishing locally in case his patients should need him. At McRory's house, Jim meets the town's beautiful schoolteacher, Trudy Mason, who is engaged to stuffy pharmacist Roy Chesley, and begins to fall in love with her. He then ingratiates himself to the villagers by "calling" a square dance in McRory's honor. Jim's friendly professional manner proves effective when, asked by Emily, the shy daughter of Fallbridge's drunken newspaper editor, Bill Walters, to help her father, Jim cures him of his debilitating headaches by helping him to stop drinking whiskey. McRory's vacation is delayed when he has an attack of appendicitis, and, with Trudy's help, Jim successfully performs an emergency appendectomy and wins McRory's approval. After Trudy and Jim enjoy a town sleighride together, McRory encourages Jim not to allow his true love to marry another man, as McRory did years earlier. Later, while helping Jim deliver a baby, Trudy misses a date with Roy. When she returns home at dawn, Roy scolds her, then further infuriates her by saying that Jim is not interested in marriage. Tired of being fought over, Trudy breaks her engagement with Roy and refuses to see Jim. Meanwhile, Dr. Ronnie Jenks, whom McRory originally asked to replace Jim, opens up an office to compete with McRory. Next, Roy's father, C. J. Chesley, head of the town council, leads a fight to keep McRory from achieving his dream as the hospital's chief of surgery. When Jenks and McRory are both ordered to take an examination, Jim coaches McRory. During the test, however, the doctors are called to the schoolhouse to investigate an epidemic. After Jenks alarms the town by diagnosing the children with equine encephalitis, Jim and McRory discover that the schoolboys had simply been smoking cigarettes. Chesley, embarrassed at having called Washington, D.C. for a vaccine shipment, offers McRory the hospital position on the condition that Jim become his assistant. Jim and Trudy then decide to marry.