Small Town Girl (1936) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Kay is a girl living in a small rural town whose life is just too dull and repetitious to bear. One night, she meets young, handsome, and rich Bob Dakin, who asks her for directions while drunk and then proceeds to take her out on a night on the town. Kay likes the stranger, and when the drunken Bob decides that they should get married, Kay hesitates little before consenting. The morning after the affair, Bob, once sober, regrets his mistake. His strict and upright parents, however, insist that the young couple pretend marriage for 6 months before divorcing, in order to avoid bad publicity. Bob resents Kay for standing in the way of him and his fiancée, Priscilla, but Kay still hopes that he'd have a change of heart.

  • Kay Brannan, who works in the family's grocery store, hates the monotony, routine and tedium of living in small town Carvel, especially as everyone she knows does and says the same thing over and over, including city works employee Elmer Clampett, to who she seems destined to be married. The partying people passing through town for the Yale-Harvard football game only shows her what a fun-filled life can look like. So when one of the young men passing through sweeps her along, she quietly but happily gets caught in his broom hairs. By the end of the alcohol-filled evening when he, more than just a little tipsy, suggests they get married by a J.P. in a neighboring town, she, with a clear mind and just for a chance to escape the tedium of Carvel, agrees. In the sober (for him) and bright light (for her) of the next day, they both regret the move, he seeing in her a small town yokel, and she considering his superior attitude maddening. It is only then that she gets a fuller picture of who he really is: Boston based up and coming surgeon Dr. Bob Dakin who comes from a wealthy family, the only thing holding him back professionally being his irresponsible, partying ways. But most importantly, she learns that he is already engaged to socialite Priscilla Hyde, the two of them who had a minor row just before he met Kay - the two women the antithesis of each other - the reason he swept Kay along for the day. Although Bob and Kay's first inclination is to get an annulment, Bob's parents are able to convince him who in turn is able to convince her that an annulment and the scandal would ruin his career, and that a better option is to stay married for six months in all aspects except in the bedroom, then get a divorce, with the only people being in the know about their marriage being a scam being the four of them and Priscilla. In the ups and downs of pretending to be in love over the course of those six months, they may find that they truly have fallen in love if they can open their eyes to the fact, especially against the pressure of Priscilla who ultimately sees Bob and her as a match made in their upper class social circle heaven.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Kay grew up in Carvel, a sleepy small town that wakes up only on football Saturdays, as Yale and Havard fans would drive pass Carvel to on their way to the game.

    One of these fans is the handsame playboy doctor Robert Dakin. Bob wanted to get out of the traffic and asked Kay for directions on shortcuts. Kay agreed to jump into his car and took him to the local pub he was looking for.

    They both got drunk and Bob proposed to Kay. Kay was attracted to him, and saw a chance to escape the fate of ending up with local suitor Elmer and a stifling small town married life. She said yes.

    Bob woke up the next day realising the mistake he'd made and wanted to apply for an annulament. But in his usual drunken indiscretion, he had told the judge to issue a press release annoucing his marriage. In order to save the Dakins, a prominent old family in the Boston high society, from more scancals, Bob and Kay would need to remained married for short time, and then quietly divorce each other. Bob lost his fiancee Priscilla as a result and developed a resentment towards Kay, believing that she was a gold digger.

    Dr. Dakin Senior and his wife, on the other hand, liked the down-to-earth, kind-hearted Kay and wanted to keep her. Dr. Dakin arranged for Bob and Kay to spend their honeymoon on the Dakin prvate yacht, for few days of peace and quiet from the paparazzi. After the initial rounds of fight, shouts and insults, Bob and Kay became friends and settled into a nice apartment and "friendly" married life. Bob joined a reputable hospital and concentrated on developing his skills as a brain surgen; Kay went on to learn the code of conducts for an upper-class doctor's wife.

    Just as Bob and Kay began to have feelings for each other, Priscilla returned from her face-saving tour of Europe. Bob and Priscilla got back together, and he started to spend most of his spare time in Priscilla's apartment.

    Kay and Priscilla took different views on Bob's career - Priscilla thought nothing of it, Bob's attendance in her sociery parties are more important than saving lives; Kay was the opposite, and would go to the hospital every day to look after Bob's favourite patient, a little boy called Jimmy.

    The hostility between Priscilla and Kay blown up in full-scale when Priscilla chose not to tell Bob that Jimmy requires emergency surgery and that as the attending physician, he needs to report to surgery immediately. Kay went up to Priscilla's apartment and took Bob away, but it was too late - Bob had been drinking that night and was unable to operate. Another surgen took over, Jimmy lived; but Bob's reputation as a respected doctor was damaged.

    Seeing that after all these Bob was still in love with Priscilla, a broken-hearted Kay went home to Carvel, intending to stay there for the duration of her "arrangement" with the Dakins. Bob came to realise that he was really in love with Kay, drove to Carvel and took her back to Boston with him.

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