Small-town  sheriff  Andrew  Taylor  receives  a  letter  from an
ex-convict, informing him that he will be visiting the town soon.
The letter is cryptic:  it says only that the  ex-con  wishes  to
"settle a score."
Sheriff  Taylor  recalls  that long ago he had shot the author of
the letter, wounding him in the leg and causing him thereafter to
walk with a limp.
Alarmed by the potential for  danger  to his associate and friend
the sheriff, Deputy Barnard Fife conspires  with  a  gas  station
attendant  by  name of Gomer Pyle, and with one Otis Campbell, an
habitue of  the  local  jail  (Mr.  Campbell  appears  to  have a
drinking problem), to secretly guard Sheriff Taylor.   Noticeably
absent from the plot is a local barber known as "Floyd."
The  ex-con  arrives  by bus.  He gets off the common carrier and
limps to an unknown  destination.   Ominously,  he carries a case
containing what appears to be a rifle or shotgun.
Complicating things still further is the fact that  Deputy  Fife,
although  armed  with  a  pistol,  in fact has no bullets in that
pistol (although he does carry  *one*  bullet in a shirt pocket.)
The sheriff himself carries no weapon.
At home that evening with  his  son  and  an  aunt  who  performs
housekeeping  chores  for Sheriff Taylor, the phone rings.  It is
the ex-con saying he is coming  to  the Taylor residence to pay a
visit.  The aunt, Beatrice, promptly takes the sheriff's son  and
deserts the premises.
Unknown  to  the sheriff, secret bodyguards Pyle and Campbell are
The ex-con, limping  and  still  carrying  the  apparent rifle or
shotgun, arrives.  He is  a  mean-looking  fellow.   The  unarmed
sheriff invites him in.
At  this point, Deputy Fife arrives.  He and his secret team peer
in through the window.  They  see  the ex-con pull a shotgun from
the case he is carrying.
Thinking quickly,  Deputy  Fife  pulls  the  electric  fuses  for
Sheriff  Taylor's  home.   Then, he, Pyle, and Campbell, carrying
stout rope, rush in the back door.
But, in the meantime, the sheriff  and the ex-con have exited via
the front door.  Inside the house, in the  darkness,  the  deputy
and his assistants bungle badly and end up in knots.
Outside,  the sheriff fixes the fuses, the lights go back on, and
he and the ex-con peer in through the window.  They both laugh at
what they see.  It turns out that the shotgun was a present given
to Sheriff Taylor  as  supposed  "thanks"  for helping the ex-con
straighten up and turn his life around.
BUT, how is it that the ex-con, a felon, can have  a  shotgun  to
give  to  the  sheriff?  And what about this Otis Campbell fellow
who, under the  guise  of  being intoxicated, is "coincidentally"
privy to police intelligence?  And most  especially,  why  is  it
that  the "good sheriff" employs incompetent Fife as deputy -- is
the sheriff  afraid  that  a  *real*  deputy  might  catch  on to