Cole Harden (Gary Cooper) just doesn't look like a horse thief, Jane-Ellen Matthews (Doris Davenport) tells Judge Roy Bean (Walter Brennan) as she steps up to the bar. Cole says he can't take it with him as he empties all of his coins on the bar to buy drinks for the jury. He notices two big pictures of Lily Langtry (Lilian Bond) behind the bar. Sure, Cole has met the Jersey Lily, whom the hanging judge adores, even has a lock of her hair. Hanging is delayed for two weeks, giving Cole time to get in the middle of a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders and to still be around when Lily Langtry, former mistress of Edward VII who became an international actress, arrives in Texas.