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After Texas heiress Ellie Andrews defies her father, A. A. Andrews, to marry fortune-hunter Jacques Ballarino, Andrews has Ellie kidnapped before the marriage can be consummated and locks her away on his San Diego yacht while he arranges an annulment. To thwart her father, Ellie jumps overboard, and travelling incognito, boards a Greyhound bus bound for Houston, where her groom awaits. Also on the bus is Peter Warne, an irreverent, fast-talking reporter who has just been fired. Ellie is assigned to the seat next to Peter, and when they stop for a dinner break, a thief steals the suitcase containing all her money, leaving Ellie with only six dollars to her name. The bus continues onto Tucson, and when it stops for breakfast, Ellie naively asks the driver to wait for her. Returning late, Ellie finds the bus gone and a bemused Peter waiting at the station with the ticket she left behind. Disclosing that he knows Ellie is the missing heiress, Peter holds up a copy of the local newspaper with her picture plastered all over the front page. When Ellie offers to buy his silence, Peter, offended, sends a telegram to Joe Gordon, his former editor in Houston, offering an exclusive story about his cross-country adventure with the heiress. They then board the night bus to Houston, where Ellie is accosted by the garrulous, lecherous George Shapely. To rescue Ellie from Shapely's verbal advances, Peter tells him that they are married. When the bus is forced to stop for the night because the road has been washed out by a storm, Peter and Ellie take refuge at an auto court, where Peter registers as husband and wife. Once in their room, Peter strings a blanket between their beds and dubs it the "Walls of Jericho." Ellie accuses Peter of trying to take advantage of her, but Peter replies that all he wants is a story. Meanwhile, back in Texas, Andrews offers a $20,000 reward for Ellie. The next morning, an attraction begins to smolder between Peter and Ellie when he cooks her breakfast and she confides that she has never been alone with a man. When Andrews' detectives come to the auto court in search of Ellie, Ellie combs her hair over her face, affects a crude accent and feigns a marital spat with Peter, sending the embarrassed detectives scurrying. Ellie and Peter then break out in a congratulatory dance and are about to kiss when Peter sees a newspaper story trumpeting the reward. Concerned, Peter insists upon leaving the bus and taking the back roads. Broke and hungry, Ellie proves her mettle by using her womanly wiles to hitch a ride with Danker, a passing motorist who offers them a ride in his old jalopy. When they stop at the diner, however, Danker speeds off with Peter's suitcase. Peter chases after Danker, then swaps his wrist watch for the old clunker and drives back to fetch Ellie. After Ballarino refuses his father-in-law's demand for an annulment, Andrews releases a statement that he will not interfere with his daughter's marriage if she will just return home. Upon reading the story in the paper, Ellie, who is falling in love with Peter, tries to delay their arrival in Houston by convincing Peter to spend one last night on the road. That evening, after Peter strings up the Walls of Jericho, Ellie crosses over to Peter's side and confesses that she loves him. Stunned, Peter tells Ellie to go back to bed, and once she falls asleep, he barters his hat for a tank of gas to drive to Houston. There, Peter goes to Gordon's office and offers to sell his story for $2,000 so that he an afford to propose to Ellie and "tear down the Walls of Jericho." Back at the motel, the proprietors awaken, and noticing that Peter's car is missing, think that he has skipped out on the rent. Barging into Peter's room, they find Ellie alone and throw her out into the night. Believing that Peter has deserted her, Ellie contacts her father about coming home. Peter is motoring back to Ellie when Andrews, accompanied by a police escort, sweeps past to collect his daughter. While stopped at a railroad crossing, Peter spots Ellie in Andrews' car and tries to follow, but his jalopy breaks down. When Peter sheepishly returns to Gordon's office to return his advance, the editor assigns him to cover Ellie's lavish wedding that is to be held at the Andrews estate. On the day of her wedding, Ellie tells her father that she is in love with Peter, prompting him to show her a letter that Peter has sent, asking for reimbursement of his expenses. When Ellie reads the letter, she assumes that Peter is after the reward. Soon after, Peter arrives at the estate and presents Andrews with an itemized bill for $35.75. When an incredulous Andrews asks why Peter has decided to forgo the reward, Peter finally admits that he is in love with Ellie. As Andrews escorts his daughter to meet her groom, he tells Ellie that Peter has refused the reward and declared his love for her. Just as the ceremony begins, Peter walks out, and Ellie, noticing his absence, runs after him, flags him down and jumps into his jalopy. Later, while on their honeymoon, Peter tears down the Walls of Jericho for good.