In a town in the Old West, the town drunk, Al Denton, staggers out of a bar accompanied by the sounds of laughter. A local gunslinger, Dan Hotaling, pours whiskey in Denton's face as a peddler, Henry J. Fate, looks on. Hotaling tells Denton to sing for a drink. Desperate for alcohol, Denton staggers to his feet and starts singing. The local saloon girl, Liz, asks the bartender, Charlie Dalton, if he can stop it, but Charlie chooses to stay out of it. Meanwhile, Hotaling shatters the bottle and throws it into the dirt, and Denton desperately scoops it up and drinks from it. Liz comes outside and looks at Denton, and then walks away without saying anything. As Denton passes out on the street, a gun appears near his hand.
Denton wakes up and pours out what alcohol he can from the bottle. He finds the gun lying in the dirt and picks it up. Liz sees it and asks if he's carrying a gun, and Denton says someone must have dropped it. She asks if he used to be good with a gun, and Denton says that was a long time ago, but he can't remember why. Liz asks why he drinks so much and Denton says that he just got into the habit. Hotaling comes out again and tells Denton to sing for another drink. Liz tries to stop him, but Denton starts singing. He finally breaks off and Hotaling tells him to go get his drink. As Denton walks in, Hotaling notices the gun in Denton's hand and asks why he's carrying. He mocks Denton, saying it's been a long time since he's used it, and dares Denton to try and outdraw him. Liz and Charlie try to stop it but Hotaling insists and calls Denton out into the street, offering to shoot him left-handed. Denton waves his gun around and tries to get Liz to stop Hotaling, and accidentally pulls the trigger. He shoots Hotaling in his left hand, while Fate looks and smiles. The townspeople congratulate Denton and bring him into the bar for a drink. Hotaling comes in and calls Denton out, and Denton turns around and tries to apologize. As Fate stares intently at Denton's gun, it goes off again, shooting a lamp and dropping it on Hotaling's gun. One of the men approaches Denton, calling him "Mister," and Denton is surprised and touched. Charlie pours him a drink, but Denton says that he's had enough and goes to get a shave. As he walks past Hotaling, he slaps him to the ground and tells him not to call him a rummy anymore.
Liz goes out after him and tells him that everything will be okay because Charlie thinks Denton is as good with a gun as he ever was. Denton says that he was good, and every day someone rode into town to challenge him. One day a sixteen-year-old came to town and Denton shot him down in front of the saloon. Since then he started drinking and stopped shooting. Now Denton figures that the whole cycle will start up again, so he's going to get a shave so he can look good on the day he dies.
Back in his room that night, Denton pours himself some coffee. An out-of-town leader arrives to tell Denton that he's there on behalf of Pete Grant, a gunslinger who will meet him the next night at the saloon. Denton considers backing out, but then tells the leader that he'll be at the saloon the next night. The next morning, Denton practices by trying to shoot a can off a fence, but realizes that whatever skill he had against Hotaling is gone. Back in his room, Denton starts to pack to get out of town but hears Fate outside, packing his wagon. The peddler smiles at him and Denton goes down to talk to him. He says that he can't use anything that Fate has, but the peddler says that he carries potions. Fate knows that he's running away but says that he shouldn't. Denton curses the gun, but Fate tells him to use it. He offers Denton a potion and says it will help solve his problem. The peddler explains that whoever drinks it will become the fastest of the fast for ten seconds, and offers a sample. Denton drinks it and shoots out a lamp at a hundred yards. Denton takes it and asks what he owes, but the peddler says that all he asks is that Denton remember the night that Fate stepped in.
Just before 10, Denton and the townspeople wait in the saloon. Grant and his men ride in and Grant invites Denton to draw. Denton turns away, drinks the potion, and turns to see Grant drinking from a similar bottle. Grant sees Denton's bottle on the bar and they both realize what the other has done. They draw simultaneously, shoot, and wound the other in their shooting hand. The doctor declares that it's a push and says that neither one of them will be able to shoot. However, he assures Denton that he'll be able to speak of how bravely he faced up to his opponent, and live to tell his grandchildren. Denton goes to Grant and tells him that he'll never be able to fire a gun in anger... and they've both been blessed. Grant leaves without a word and Denton tells Liz that Grant was lucky he learned his lesson early. Outside, Grant tells his men that he got Denton as much as Denton got him, and then looks over at Fate.
Charlie and Liz come out of the saloon and see Fate preparing to ride away. Fate smiles and nods to Denton and leaves.