Cast & Crew
Duke and Lura Gordon have been married four years and run an auto park and coffee shop in San Benito, California. Duke considers himself a "he-man" and runs a small side show on the lot with wildcats. He is also a continual philanderer, and when the 1932 Pomona County Fair brings customers to the auto park, he has an affair with a seductive redhead, Eve McGillicuddy. Lura is aware of the kind of man she married and despairs. She befriends Wild Bill Smith, a traveling snake oil salesman. When Duke deserts his wife at the fair to be with Eve, Lura meets up with Bill. At Bill's bidding, Lura uses his money to place a bet on his horse to win a horse-and-buggy race. Bill's horse wins the race, and with the money, some of which is Duke's, Bill later buys Duke a Sumatran tiger for his side show. Lura realizes that she enjoyed herself for the first time in years while spending the day with Bill at the fair. That night when Duke tries to sneak out to visit Eve, Lura warns him not to return. He apologizes and swears to be true to her. In the morning, Bill delivers the tiger to Duke. Lura is furious that Duke spent her savings on the fierce animal, but faints when Duke narrowly escapes being mauled by the tiger. Bill professes his love to Lura, but she decides to stick it out with Duke. When one of the hands gives Lura a package of lingerie that Duke had purchased for Eve, Lura confronts her husband and then gives up on him in her heart. Late in the evening, Lura finds out she is pregnant. Bill is the first to know, and despite the fact that she is in love with him, Lura asks him to leave forever. One year passes, and the customers return for the county fair. Lura is happy with her baby, despite the fact that Duke insists on raising him as a "he-man" and places him in front of the lion's cage to begin his "male" education. Eve returns to town, and when Duke leaves to see her, Lura declares she no longer cares about him or his actions. Bill then arrives for a visit, and when Duke sees him playing with the baby, he angrily orders him to leave. Duke goes into town and gets drunk in Eve's hotel room, making threatening gestures with his gun to imply what he will do if he returns home to find Bill there. Eve, however, secretly removes the bullets from his gun before he goes. Just after Duke arrives at the camp, the tiger gets out of his cage unnoticed. Although Bill is not on the premises, Duke is suspicious. Lura and her baby come face-to-face with the tiger in the kitchen, and after trying to stare him down, Lura runs out, leaving the baby inside the ice box. Duke goes into the kitchen and tries to kill the tiger, but discovers his gun is not loaded. He taunts the tiger with his whip, and the tiger mauls him to death. In the process, a gas burner is turned over and the flames ignite a gasoline can. As the building goes up in flames, Lura rushes inside to rescue her baby. She retrieves him unharmed from the ice box, and the house burns to the ground. Finally free, Lura and her child join Bill and his traveling medicine show.
Richard Arlen Jr.
J. Farrell Macdonald
David Jack Holt
The working title of the film was Baby in the Icebox. According to a news item in Daily Variety, Paramount briefly considered calling the film Wise Girl. According to copyright records, Baby LeRoy was originally cast as Lura's son, but grew too old by the time of filming and was replaced by Richard Arlen's son. Copyright records and news items in Daily Variety also note that Casey Robinson was the first director on this film. He left the production because of influenza and was replaced by Ralph Murphy, who developed tonsilitis and was replaced by associate producer Harry Joe Brown. Murphy later returned to complete the film. The buggy race was filmed in Los Angeles, CA, and the fire at the automobile camp was filmed in Victorville, CA.