Based on Octavus Roy Cohen's novel, a con man realizes he had amnesia as a cheap businessman with a divorcing wife and tries to win her back while swindling the town's wealthy.
On a ship tipsy Doc Ryan (Frank McHugh) falls overboard, and sober Larry Wilson (William Powell) jumps in to save him. Larry wakes thinking he is George Carey nine years before. George tells Ryan he had amnesia; learning Wilson has money, Ryan agrees to be his con partner. At the dock George finds his wife Kay Wilson (Myrna Loy). In a hotel suite she tells George she wants a divorce and leaves. Banker Billings (Charles Arnt) brings George $5,000 and says he has accounts for charities. Herbert (Donald Douglas) barges in looking for his fiancé Kay. He hits George and runs into a door. George invites Kay to dinner, orders champagne, and gets her to dance with him. He asks for six weeks and kisses her.
George is greeted by his mother and the mayor. To avoid playing music, he pretends to faint. At home George drinks and asks Kay for food. Ryan plans an oil scam. George and Ryan go to the Wilson pottery factory at night and set off the burglar alarm. Police chase them home and find them in bed. George is welcomed back to work and lets individuals make their own decisions. Kay asks for her check, and George pleases her with $200. He takes her shopping and surprises everyone he is not cheap. Duke Sheldon (Edmund Lowe) shows George and Ryan the "oil" land. Kay tells George he is confusing her by being so nice. He coos, and she cries.
George leads the boy rangers on a hike and tests young Harkspur (Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer). They find oil in the creek. Harkspur (Charles Halton), Littlejohn, and Belenson offer George $10,000 for his land; but Duke comes in and bids double for the gravel. Kay says there is oil. Duke offers George $100,000 for half and has options on adjoining properties. Harkspur, Littlejohn, and Belenson go to raise the money to buy them. Kay tells George she is through with Herbert. She calls George honest and says she finally found the man she loves. Ryan packs, but George offers him an honest job because the oil deal is off. Ryan calls Duke, and Kay hears of amnesia. George tells Duke he won't do the deal. Kay comes in. George hits Duke, who hits him back. George awakes as if he is Larry on the ship. Harkspur, Littlejohn, Belenson, and Herbert arrive and learn Larry had amnesia. Left alone, George coos to show Kay he was pretending to be Larry again.
This farce plays upon two contrasting personalities
one a frugal boring man absorbed in civic duties, the other
a slick con artist who enjoys indulging; his wife finds the latter
more appealing. He is more entertaining in a movie; but in real
life there are consequences.