George Ade's turn-of-the-century stage success The County Chairman was retailored as a Will Rogers vehicle in 1935. Set in 1904, the film casts Rogers as Jim Hackler, political-party chairman of Tomahawk County, Wyoming. At rise, Hackler is running for county prosecutor against his old political and romantic rival, crooked Elias Rigby (Berton Churchill). Complications arise when Jim's protégé Ben Harvey (Kent Taylor) falls in love with Rigby's daughter Lucy (Evelyn Venable). Presented with the opportunity to smear Rigby in public by digging up an old scandal, Jim refuses to stoop to his opponent's level -- and miracle of miracles, he wins the election anyway! The film's best moments occur when Will Rogers departs from the script to offer extemporaneous comments on a wide variety of subjects: he even manages to poke gentle fun at Henry Ford, who was hardly a "major player" in 1904! The supporting cast ranges from such Rogers "regulars" as Charles Middleton and Stepin Fetchit (at his most incomprehensible!) to such relative newcomers as 15-year-old Mickey Rooney.
by Hal Erickson synopsis