During the Great Depression, Mattie Appleyard (Stewart), Lee Cottrill (Strother Martin) and Johnny Jesus (Kurt Russell) are released from a West Virginia prison. For his 40 years of work while incarcerated, Appleyard is given a check for the then-stupendous sum of $25,452.32. That is too much of a temptation for the prison's already crooked boss, Captain Council (Kennedy).
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He and two henchmen frame Appleyard for a cold-blooded murder committed by Council. During the ensuing chase, Appleyard figures out a way to cash the check at the bank that issued it, and Johnny acquires a sixteen-year-old girlfriend (whose virginity was priced at $100 by a madam). In the final confrontation, the fugitives are trapped in an isolated farmhouse. Council guns down his own accomplices so he won't have to share the money, then starts firing at the house. Fortunately, those inside have some dynamite, which they use to blow him up.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a nice little period caper that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Best scene in story:
Appleyard walks into the bank with sticks of dynamite wrapped around his body to ensure he gets to leave with his money.
Opinion about the main character:
It's Jimmy Stewart, doing his patented, homespun, wise old man bit, and doing it well.