In another virtuoso performance, Cagney plays a backwoods peddler struggling to make a go of it in an unnamed state in the Deep South. He's appalled by the state's corrupt politicians who exploit the downtrodden sharecroppers, and, with his wife, Hale, at his side, begins a political crusade. He scores his biggest victory when he exposes the crooked practices that are cheating cotton farmers at the scales, and with massive grassroots support is catapulted into a vicious, mud-slinging campaign for the governorship. Over the course of the campaign, the crusader Cagney quickly becomes as selfish and corrupt as the people he condemns, his ambition overriding all his other concerns. Just when the high office is within Cagney's grasp, he is shot to death by Jeanne Cagney, the wife of one of his betrayed followers. Though the story is a hackneyed one--the rise of an itinerant to a position of power--Cagney is so dynamic that he rivets the viewer's attention. Hale is appealing as the patient wife, and Francis gives a bizarre performance as a wild swampwater girl known as Flamingo. Walsh directs with his usual vitality, but there's no mistaking the similarity of this film to ALL THE KING'S MEN, which had captured the Huey Long personality three years earlier, duplicated on a more primitive level by Cagney. The entire Cagney clan got into this act, with Jimmy in the lead, his sister Jeanne in a supporting role, and his brothers William and Edward as producer and story editor.