In the township of Duck'N' Shoot, rowdies ride down the street firing their guns into the air. In the saloon, Bret is playing poker when Bill Ferguson leads his horse in, goes to the bar, punches a man, and grabs the saloon girl. Judge Hardy, Smitty, and several other people look on. Smitty figures that Ferguson is going too far, but refuses to let Hardy appoint him sheriff.
Bret collects his winnings and tries to ignore the horse behind him. Ferguson notices his horse whinnying and it rears up and kicks Ferguson in the head. Bret reaches out to catch the man, and the townspeople assume he decked Ferguson. Hardy figures Bret is their man and tells Smitty to bring Bret to his office. Smitty goes over and when Bret asks where he can cash in his chips, Smitty tells him to follow him.
In the judge's office, Bret and Smitty come in and the townspeople congratulate Bret on his strong right hand. Hardy tells Bret that they their sheriff when he ran out of town. They want Bret to take his place for six months, but Bret isn't interested. Hardy's clerk Jonah has written up a contract for Bret to sign to become sheriff. When Bret balks, Hardy has the saloon owner, Andrews, repeat his "charge" that a source has said that Bret was cheating. Bret realizes that he's being blackmailed, and Jonah figures that the investigation will take six months. Hardy says that he'll impound the money for six months and Jonah notes that an investigation of the charges will take six months. Bret explains that the horse hit Ferguson and he's a coward, and everyone is impressed with his humility and supports Hardy.
The next day, Bret moves into the sheriff's office and the janitor, Bill Billy, arrives. Cowboys start shooting shots, and Billy says that he's the deputy. Billy notes that Bret is the town's 23rd sheriff, and he doesn't mind being the second best man in the town. He suggests that they make the rounds. Bret would rather not, figuring that if they find trouble they might have to shoot someone. Bret also wants Billy to tell him where the bad characters are so he can avoid them. Billy tells him about the rowdies, and that Bimbo is a trail herder and the worst of the lot who always wants to try out a new sheriff. Ferguson was Bimbo's brother, and Bret peers outside to see Bimbo ride out of the saloon, shooting his gun into the air. Melissa "Missy" Maybrook is one of the onlookers.
Hardy and the others come out on the street, and Bret tells Billy that he's going to wait until Bimbo tires himself out. Bimbo calls out the sheriff and fires a shot into the sheriff's office, knocking a picture off the wall. Bret cowers, and Billy looks disapprovingly at him. He tells Bret to go get Bimbo, and Bret takes off his gun belt and goes outside to face the man. Bimbo says that he wants to wreck the town and asks Bret what he's going to do. Bret offers to play a hand of poker. If Bimbo loses he goes to jail for a day: if Bimbo wins then he has complete freedom to wreck the town.
Bimbo insists on playing on a barrel outside the sheriff's office, breaking the seal, and dealing the cards. Bret cuts the cards "to make it legal", and Bret wins the hand. Bimbo goes peacefully to jail, and Missy and the two men with her figure that Bret will make the same deal with them when the time comes.
Missy and the two men, Fred Leslie and Buck Danton, go to Missy room at the hotel and discuss robbing the local bank. Leslie wonders what Missy can do to help them, but she refuges to go back to Denver until she gets her cut of the incoming $20,000. Danton notes that Bret doesn't act the way a sheriff is supposed to act, and Missy says that she'll keep Bret occupied because that's why Leslie hired her.
That night, Bret is walking his rounds and takes a drunk, Herman, into a cell. Bret asks Billy where Hardy keeps his safe, and Billy warns that the bank has been robbed dozens of time and Hardy's safe is welded to the floor. Herman drunkenly sings, and Bret pours him a drink to taper off.
The next day, Bret goes to the saloon and greets Hardy. He asks Hardy when he's going to be convinced that he made a mistake appoint him sheriff, and Hardy says that Bret has kept the town quiet. Hardy realizes that they needed a sheriff who could outsmart the rowdies instead of shooting, and pays Bret his $84 a month salary in advance.
Later, Bret goes to the telegraph office and sends a wire to Bart in Denver asking for help. As he leaves, Missy approaches him and asks for a good place to eat. Bret offers to escort her into the hotel dining room and Missy agrees. After Missy leaves, a fight break out in the saloon between Bimbo and a ranch hand, George Roy. Andrews calls Bret in, and George finally beats Bimbo. Bret goes in and bets that Bimbo will get up, and Bimbo finally does so and knocks George out. Bret bets that George will get up and "accidentally" spills a bottle of whiskey on George's face. George wakes up and Bret collects his winnings, and then tells Andrews that he'll take care of the two fighters. Bimbo and George finally realize that Bret is making money off of them fighting, and walk out in disgust to fight somewhere privately.
That night in the dining room, Bret and Missy eat and Missy notes that Bret doesn't act like a sheriff. He wonders why she came to Duck'N' Shoot, and Missy says that she's looking for what every woman looks for. Leslie and Danton watch them.
The next morning, Bret goes to the office and Billy tells him to ask Missy about Leslie and Danton, two well-=known criminals. Billy figures they're planning something and they're using Missy to sweet-talk Bret, and Bret tells the deputy he'll look into it. Bret goes to the hotel and the clerk tells him where to find them. Missy is meeting with the two men, and says that she'll have Bret well in hand. Bret listens at the door and hears Leslie says that they don’t want any violence unless Bret comes snooping around. When the two men come out, Bret quickly hides.
Later, Bret meets with Missy and says that it looks like she has troubles. Missy tells him that she doesn't want a part of what Leslie and Danton are planning. Bret says that he knows they're up to something, and Missy claims that she came to town to help them but didn't know they were going to rob a bank. Missy says that they're going to plan the bank the next night at midnight, and Bret advises her to forget that he told him. She suggests that Bret stop them, and Bret has heard that Danton has killed quite a few men. Bret considers forgetting the $5,000 and ride out, and Missy suggests that he rob the bank himself. Danton and Leslie would leave when there find there was no money.
Bret refuses, but that night he and Missy go to the bank. They find a barred window that the robbers keep putting back, and that's why they can rob the bank so easily. Herman is watching from the shadows, shocked. Meanwhile, Bret and Mercy check the president's desk and finds the $20,000. They go out the window, head out of town, and hide the money under a rock out of town. Missy kisses Bret and then suggests that they should go back to town separately.
Bret soon rides back and gets the money, then hides it behind another rock. As he leaves, Missy watches him from the shadows.
When Bret returns to the office, he finds Hardy and his people waiting for him. Herman told them that Bret took the bank money, and Bret says that Leslie and Danton are going to rob the bank at midnight. He says that he took the money out and figured Hardy would show his appreciation by giving his money back. Hardy demands the money, and Bret says that he'll wait until Danton and Leslie show up the bank to prove his story.
Bret and his men go to the bank and hide outside. Leslie and Danton sit in the saloon and play cards, then go to get their $20,000. When they come out, Missy approaches them and say that there are men staked around the bank. She claims she never met Bret, and Leslie and Danton call off the robbery. They give her $100 and she walks off, apparently furious.
Hardy finally draws a gun on Bret and asks where the money is, and he takes them to the hiding spot he picked. The money isn't there, and Bret is soon in a cell. Bart arrives and Bret tells him that Missy took the money. Bart agrees to help... in return for the $5,000 that Bret owes him. Bret says that Hardy has his $5,000 and Bart can have it if he helps, and Bart agrees... once Bret puts it in writing.
Once Bart leaves, Hardy and Billy come in. Missy has denied everything, and Hardy notes that she's sticking around town. He says that Bret's trial comes up tomorrow, and promises that if Bret doesn't tell him where the money is, Bret will end up in prison for a long time.
Bart woos Missy and admits that he's a professional gambler, but doesn't mention that he's a Maverick. He says that his backers have scheduled a poker game that night, and Missy is intrigued. Bart says that he's meeting with the cattle men backing him, and Missy tells him that the cattle men's profits have vanished when the bank was robbed. Missy suggest that Bart could be part of his plans, and she says that she has $20,000 with her. Once Bart turns her back, Missy takes the money out of her bloomers... and Bart turns her in. Hardy has confirmed the numbers on the bills. Bret tells Hardy that he's leaving with or without his consent, and the $5,000 now belongs to Bart. After Bret leaves, Hardy appoints Bart the new sheriff. Missy assures Bart that she'll find a way to get them out of town... with the $5,000.
As Bret rides out of town, he helpfully tells Bimbo that there's a new sheriff in town. Bimbo starts shooting up the town. Billy warns Bart about Bimbo, and Bart removes his gun belt, takes out a deck of cards, and goes to confront Bimbo.
Written by Gadfly on Dec 22, 2019