In this modern day Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Bill Sterling, Jr., a teacher in Los Angeles, is chosen by the Governor of California to replace a deceased U.S. Senator, partially because of his father's fame as a noted former Governor.
In Washington, Senator Sterling chooses to not be a member of the Democrats or Republicans, but hold office as an Independent instead. Using his knowledge as a citizen and son of a former governor, Sterling is able to become a part of the U.S. Senate with partiality and loyalty rarely seen in the political world.
Sterling's father comes to Washington to celebrate his birthday. While there, he is accused of accepting bribes during his terms as governor. Meanwhile, the younger Sterling receives an invitation to speak at a National Press Club meeting, but begins to worry about his topic when Jackie informs him that this may be his defining speech as a senator.