In the town of Hayfield, Joey and Corky go to the general store and admire the Christmas decoration to shop for presents. The owner, Toomis Flager, chats with Joey and an alarm clock goes off. Toomis turns it off and says that he has to close up shop because there's a town council meeting. Council President Ben Farmer always gets riled up if they don’t start on time. Outside, Joey and Corky see a man signing up a sign saying no circus people are allowed on the streets after sundown per order of the town council. Joey tries to pass it off to Corky, saying that they roll up the sidewalks, and Corky wants to see it. His caretaker says that it's a secret ceremony.
Back at the circus, Tim tells Pete that he won't play any town that forbids circus people. Pete warns that they'll lose money and says that they can stay clear of Hayfield the next year. Joey arrives and tells Tim about the signs. Tim figures that either they leave or he leaves his self-respect. Joey suggests that they go to the council meeting, and points out that the kids will suffer if they leave. Tim agrees and goes to the meeting with Joey.
Corky puts Bimbo through his paces as the local children look on. One boy, David Farmer, comes over and claims that Bimbo is dirty. He says that his father Ben is the richest man in town, and Corky offers him a pass in return for being allowed to see the sidewalks rolled up. David tells him that he's dumb and they just keep the riffraff out, and Ben runs the entire town. Corky tells him to get off the lot, and the two boys fight. When Corky pins David, David says that he'll tell his father and they'll run him all out of town, and leaves.
At the community church, Ben calls the meeting to order. Reverend John McNair asks when they'll build the new town hall, and Ben points out that they don't meet on Sunday and the arrangement has been working out well. Toomis says that they should talk about the children's Christmas party, and Ben says that Toomis is a fool for giving to the Christmas party when his store is mortgaged. John points out that every businessman in town donates except for Ben, and Ben says that he doesn't want to give to dirt farmers and let sentiment get in the way.
Tim and Joey arrive and John admits that he requested the circus to come to Hayfield during the off-season. Ben says that the signs were voted on unanimously, and both John and Toomis say that they voted against them. The president tells Toomis to come to his bank and discuss the mortgage on the general store, and tells Tim that another circus came to Hayfield a year ago and nearly wrecked the town. As Tim goes, John apologizes and Tim tells him that he'll get his show just as he promised. David roughs himself up and runs in crying, and says that a circus kid beat him up and hit him in the head with a big rock. Tim wants to get Corky's side of the story, and Ben tells him to keep Corky chained up until they leave Hayfield. Ben says that they'll meet for the party that night and adjourns the meeting. David goes to the presents by the tree, and Ben tells him to put them down. The boy asks if he can come to the party, and Ben says that it's just for poor farm kids and they're almost as worthless as the circus people.
At the circus, Joey finds Corky reading Bimbo a story about Snow White. Joey accuses Corky of beating up David, and Corky says that Joey knows he wouldn't do that. His guardian asks what it's all about, and Corky explains that David called Bimbo dirty. He says that it was just a wrestle, and Joey tells him to remember that nothing is solved by fighting. They go to get some food and Bimbo follows them.
That night, David sneaks into the church and looks at the presents. He sets the Christmas tree on fire trying to light the candles, and then yells the alarm. At the circus, Tim tells his people that they're going to fight the fire despite the signs. They join in to put out the fire, and Ben hears David yelling inside. The circus workers break down the door and get David out, and Tim goes in to get David but is overcome by the smoke. Corky has Bimbo break down a wall so that the adults can get David out, and Ben hugs his son and thanks Corky.
The next day, John visits Toomis at the store with the money he's raised to replace the toys that were burned up. Ben comes in and says that David is all right. Toomis points out that the circus saved David's life and kept the town from burning down. John reminds Ben of the Bible saying "Love thy neighbor," and Ben says that he wants to replace the toys that were lost in the fire because of David. John dismisses it as an act of God, and Ben says that he likes that better.
Pete is dressing as Santa for the circus Christmas, and Tim tells him that they have the real Santa. They perform for the town's children in the big top, and Santa--Ben--appears. He hands out presents to all of the children, including Corky and David. Finally he gives Tim a sign saying that circus people are always welcome in Hayfield, and $2,000 to John to build a new full-time church. It starts to snow, and Toomis and Joey figure that they're off to a good year.
Written by Gadfly on Oct 30, 2017