Two men, Major Buffington and Spike Martin, jump onto a departing train just ahead of the railyard guards. Once the train takes off, Spike complains that he wishes Buffington would quit trying to sell phony stocks. Spike finds a tiger in a cage while looking for food, and Buffington comes over and discovers from the shipping tag that it's name is Rajah and it's heading to the circus. Buffington figures that it's an opportunity for them.
The train soon arrives at its destination and Pete is waiting to pick up Rajah. Buffington and Spike emerge and claim that they're Rajah's custodians. The major picks out Pete and lays on the charm, figuring him for the owner. Pete points out Tim, who is waiting with Joey and Corky. Buffington introduces himself and asks if Tim has an opening with two old circus hands. Tim assumes that they're with the circus that went out of business that he bought Rajah from, and Buffington assures him that he's a ballyhoo barker. Despite the fact that he's full, Tim takes them on and introduces Corky. Once Tim goes to get the mail, Corky and Joey introduce themselves
Later at the circus, Corky displays the military positions that he's been learning from Buffington. According to Buffington, he was made a major when he was 18. Joey points out there are a few flaws in Buffington's story. Buffington is bringing in the customers and Tim, watching, admits to Joey that Buffington is doing all right. Spike takes care of the animals, including Rajah.
Buffington is passing and notices Spike poking at Rajah. Spike complains that he's tired of taking care of the tiger, and figures that they should knock off the box office that night. Buffington says that he counted the house and they only took in $100. He says that they're playing Capitol City in a couple of days and there should be a big haul. Corky comes by and Buffington points out that they didn't do much business. He claims that he's worried he'll lose his job, and Corky assures him that Tim likes him and so does he.
Tim tells Spike to give some extra meat, and then notices when Spike is poking at Rajah. Spike says that he and Rajah don't get along too well. Buffington overhears them and says that Spike got a mauling from a tiger a few months ago, and Tim reassigns Spike to the horses. Pete rides up and says that the mayor in Capitol City has refused to give them a license to perform and passed an ordinance to prevent them from performing. Tim has Spike take care of Pete's horse while he and Pete check the map. Buffington says that they'll play Capitol City along with Corky.
Buffington and Corky meet with Mayor Humphrey and Buffington introduces Corky as an orphan. The con man talks up how Tim always turns over half the proceeds of one town to a local orphanage. Buffington claims that Capital City is his hometown and he supported Humphrey in the last election. He talks the mayor into granting the circus a license and Corky plays along.
Soon the circus is in Capital City and Tim tells Joey that even with the donation to the orphans, they'll make twice as much money as he expected. He and Joey both admit that they were leery of Buffington at first but they were wrong. Buffington and Spike are also watching, and Buffington tells Spike that they'll take all of the money. The proceeds will be taken to Pete, and he'll convince Pete that Tim wants to see him and he leaves the money with them. Buffington wonders if he's in the wrong business sometimes. Humphrey comes over and introduces the orphanage director, Mr. Little. They give Buffington a scroll of the names of the town council at the big top that night after they receive the money. Spike listens, disgusted, as Humphrey describes how they plan to publicize the donations.
That night, Tim tells Buffington to stop barking when they're sold out. He and Joey express their admiration, and Joey admits that he was wrong about suspecting Buffington. Pete takes the money over to the wagon, Buffington goes over to Spike and Spike figures that they can knock Little over the head and take the money. When Buffington says that he doesn't like the rough stuff, Spike figures that he's turning soft. Buffington admits that they'd probably turn him in if they know what he did, and Spike assures him that he'll expose him. The major gives in.
As they go to steal the money, Corky brings over two of the orphans, Coco and Davy. They have a doorstop that they made for him, and after they leave Buffington tells Spike that he's going to exchange it for some money. They go to the wagon and Buffington gives Little the doorstop while Spike knocks the director out from behind. Spike goes to get the horses while Buffington collects the money.
As Spike gets the horses, he overhears Tim telling Pete to check on Little. Getting an idea, Spike lets Rajah out of his wagon as a distraction. Pete sees the tiger and yells for help, The workers arrive to recapture it, and Spike finds Buffington and tells him what he did. Buffington is furious that Spike endangered the orphans and runs off... with the money.
Tim and Pete find Rajah and drive it away. Meanwhile, Buffington finds the orphans and gets the children inside, while Spike finds Buffington and takes the money. As he leaves, the tiger jumps on him and ins him to the ground. Tim and the others arrive and net Rajah, and Spike is only scratched. Little runs up and says that Buffington and Spike stole the money. Corky insists that it Buffington wouldn't, but Little points out the money. There's nothing inside, and Buffington says that the money is in the safe. He tells Spike that he couldn't let him run out with the orphans' money, and Spike plans to tell the sheriff what Buffington did. Buffington says that he's going back to deal with it himself, and tells Corky that he should have taken care of it himself. Tim tells him that there will always be a job waiting for Buffington if he comes back and gives Corky a dollar for the orphans.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 23, 2017