The circus arrives at the Titusville county line and find men waiting for them at the bridge. The man in charge asks if they have a permit. Tim says that it's being taken care of and until then, they're using a public road. One of the men shoves Tim off of his horse and the leader attacks him. Tim knocks the leader out, and Pete rides up says that he had to get an okay from Matt Flint and they wanted a $300 payoff. Flint acts like he runs the whole town, and Tim goes to talk to Flint. The leader says that until they work something out, they don't cross the county line.
The wagons pull to the side of the road and an old man, Ezra Hillman, fires a warning shot into the air. As Corky tells him what happened, Joey runs over and confirms that Ezra owns the land. When they explain that they're a circus, Ezra insists that he loves circus. They ask if they can camp there, and Ezra agrees. Corky goes to Ezra's farm with Bimbo.
Tim rides back from Titusville and tells the others that they're leaving. He refuses to pay bribes and Joey warns that they've had bad weather and haven't taken in any money recently. They agree that Tim shouldn't pay the bribe, and they prepare to move on. Ezra suggests that they set up on his land and it won't cost them anything. When Tim points out that they need a parade and advertising, Ezra tells him that Tim struck a blow for liberty by turning Flint down. He knows that Flint is a crooked politician, and explains that Tim is fighting for liberty. Tim gives in and they set up the circus. However, Ezra warns that Flint will cause trouble for all of them. However, he refuses to run away from trouble. Ezra says that his nephew John Ashcroft is the city attorney and he'll fight at the drop of a hat. However, he's never managed to catch Flint in the act. Tim figures that he'll talk to John.
As the workers set up, Corky wonders how they'll attract people without a parade. Ezra says that there's more than one way to catch a fish, and he caught the local legendary catfish with chewing tobacco as bait. He suggests that they figure out something new to bring people to the circus, and takes Corky to talk to the local boys. They go into town and find a boy, Skinny Williams. When Ezra tells him that there's a circus in town, and Corky offers Skinny and his friends free tickets if they do a job for them. Skinny agrees and soon he and Corky gather the other children. They start their own parade, banging pots and carrying hand-made signs.
Ezra meets up with the "parade" and provides his farm animals as parade animals, and they come to the Red Lion Inn that Flint owns. Flint's man Cass calls Flint out, and the politician figures that they can't arrest kids with an election coming up, but tells Cass to grab Ezra and bring him in. Tim and Pete emerge from John's office and see the parade, and they see Cass haul Ezra into the inn. The two men go in as Cass and his thugs lock Ezra up in a closet. Tim and Pete soon defeat Flint's men and free Ezra, and Cass warns Tim that there'll always be a tomorrow.
The next day, a crowd from town comes to the circus. Flint's men have closed the bridge, declaring it unsafe. The boys with their free tickets object, and Ezra warns that he can't get his food stuff into town and it won't keep. Tim walks across the bridge to where Flint is, and talks to the politician privately. The owner offers to pay the $300, but Flint demands $500. Tim says that he doesn't have that much until after he collects his admissions, and Flint agrees.
Flint's men soon reopen the bridge and let the townspeople cross. Meanwhile, Ezra is disappointed that Tim caved. Once Ezra leaves, Tim tells Joey and Pete that they don't know the full story yet... but they will. Once the show begins, Joey tells Flint and the leader to come with him. They figure that it's the payoff, and Joey takes them into the circus tent and tells them to wait for Tim.
Tim arrives and gives Flint an envelope with the money. A lion walks over and Tim leads them off while Pete yells that a man-eating lion is loose. Tim leads them into a wagon and locks the door behind them, and Pete assures the domesticated Nero that he was convincing. The owner then goes out front and introduces John. The circus workers bring the wagon out, and John says that it holds the man responsible for all the graft in Titusville. He explains that Flint finally overreached himself, and the workers remove the cover on the caged wagon. John had Tim pay the bribe and recorded the serial numbers, and the evidence will put Flint in jail. When Flint objects, Ezra runs out, reminds them that he's a deputy, and takes the money as evidence. John tells them to remember what happened on election day in a week, and the show continues.
Later, the townspeople give the circus the key to the town. Everyone waves goodbye to Ezra as they leave, and Tim thanks Ezra for his help. Joey tells Corky that he made a lot of friends in Titusville, and that's the key to their hearts.
Written by Gadfly on May 17, 2017