It's mail call, O'Hara is handing out letters and there is one for Rusty. Rusty gets a letter, delivered by Rinty, because Rusty has KP and is peeling potatoes. But it is good news. His essay won him the privilege of being honorary mayor of Mesa Grande for three days.
Not everything is roses in Mesa Grande, the Beaumont crowd is causing problems with vice. There is going to be a town meeting called to help, and the town doctor, Dr. Brown, plans to address the issues, but he is killed. Belle, who runs the saloon and gambling, is not happy. She wasn't worried because she already controls the town because she controls Mayor Travis. Belle even encouraged the contest to let kids "run" the town for three days.
Myra Miller, editor and publisher of the town paper, sponsored the contest. She is pleased to see her new mayor Rusty come into town. O'Hara even wrote a speech for Rusty, a speech he sort of plagiarized from a number of famous documents and speeches. Masters hands O'Hara back his speech. With O'Hara and Rusty leaving the office, Masters wants to know what's really going on. She explains how Dr. Brown was murdered.
Mayor Travis visits Belle. What is she doing? He can only cover up so much, he warns that having Dr. Brown killed was a bad idea. It's clear the mayor is in over his head. Belle and her hired gun, Charlie Fears, are running the show. At the town hall, the kids are being sworn in, then Rusty is taken to his new office. Myra Miller is there, and she wants to know what the mayor plans to do. Remember, little pitchers have big ears. Rusty goes to Rip and O'Hara. What do you do when people need laws they may not want? Rip says you need to do what's best for all the people. Even if that means unpopular laws. Even O'Hara points out, there may be regulations in the Army we don't like, but they are necessary.
Rusty assembles his other new officials, with Rinty's help. He explains how in the army you need good officers to take care of the men, so you must need a good government to take of the town. At first, everyone acts like the children they are. But then they decide on a plan of action: they are closing down all of Belle Beaumont's places. When the sheriff is tacking up the sign of closure, a gunman heads toward him to spank him; but Rinty takes him down. As the kids leave to shut down other places, Fears rips the sign up. Myra Miller chides the crowd for failing to be as brave as the children.
Myra writes an editorial calling for the voters to take action. Belle tries to buy Myra out for $20,000, but Myra refuses. Belle complains to Fears. She tells him no rough stuff. Now the Mayor is angry that the kids are actually doing his job; he means they should be seen, not heard. But the newspaper has been blown up, and Myra is found by Rinty, she is barely alive. Mayor Travis has seen the truth; he is resigning because he was bought. But he is making the kid's law actual. Belle is leaving town before the people can catch up to her. But Fears has his own plans. He intends to shoot the Mayor as he approaches the saloon. The mayor is shot; but Rinty brings Fears down before he can fire off a second shot.
Rusty and Rinty come by to say goodbye. The Mayor survived but he is leaving too. But the people believe he has learned his lesson, and should be given a second chance.
A lot in this episode for kids to digest but the clear message is there: you have to have principles and you have to stand by them.
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