In a tiny Arkansas town, local radio reporter Marcia Jeffries (Patricia Neal) makes a visit to the local jailhouse to do a story on the inmates. She’s expecting anecdotes and maybe a song or two. What she finds is Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes (Andy Griffith), a bawdy and brilliantly charismatic drifter, who steals the show in any room he occupies.
Marcia offers Larry a slot on her radio station. He’s soon a local celebrity, whipping the locals into a frenzy, inciting them to take action against the mayor and his cronies. Via a calculating agent named Joey (Anthony Franciosa), Larry gains the attention of the big networks and advertisers. Before long he’s hit the big time, with his own show in New York, through which he sells pharmaceuticals to a national audience,