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At the annual horse auction at the Hacienda Vista Hermosa in Mexico, actors Greer Garson and Edward G. Robinson are among the bidders for a beautiful white stallion named Don Juan owned by Senor Rodriguez. Don Juan has been brought up by Rodriguez' foreman Pepe, who considers the horse his "son" and instructs him to "act sick" to discourage prospective buyers. Also at the auction is down-and-out movie director Ted Holt, who has followed Robinson to Mexico in hopes of convincing him to invest in his next film, which he hopes to produce in Mexico. When Robinson refuses Ted's request, the director decides to bid on Don Juan, hoping that he can use the horse as a bargaining tool with Robinson. Although Pepe offers the contents of his piggy bank for Don Juan, Ted outbids him and leads the sad-eyed horse away. Feeling sorry for Pepe, Garson suggests he follow his horse to Hollywood and gives him the address of Ted's studio and tickets to travel there. At the entrance to the studio, Pepe is told that although Ted no longer works there, he has stopped by to get a haircut. As Pepe waits for Ted, he meets Suzie Murphy, a disillusioned actress who cloaks her longing for a film career by expressing disdain for show business. Suzie mistakes Pepe for a shoeshine boy, and after he patches a hole in her shoe, she invites him for a drink at Kelly's Café, where she works as a dancer and waitress. After Pepe spots Ted in the studio parking lot, Ted tells him that Don Juan has lost all interest in mating and invites him to his mansion in Beverly Hills, where the horse sleeps on the billiard table. Upon seeing Pepe, the depressed horse perks up and Ted, feeling sorry for Pepe and "his son," invites Pepe to stay. Later, Pepe goes to Kelly's Café, where he costs Suzie her job by interrupting a gangland rumble dance she is performing because he thinks she is in danger. When Pepe invites the now jobless Suzie to come home with him, she is offended until she learns that he is staying with Ted, whose name she recognizes as a once well-regarded director. At the house, Pepe tries to convince Ted to hire Suzie to appear in his film, prompting Ted to conclude that Suzie is using Pepe to break into the movies. When Ted ridicules her unkempt appearance, she calls him a "drunken has-been" and storms out in tears. Experiencing remorse for his unkind words, Ted sends Pepe after her, and Pepe encourages Suzie to envision herself as a beautiful and successful dancer. Finding himself drawn to Suzie, Ted agrees to consider casting her in his picture. The following day, Ted visits Robinson at his office and offers Don Juan's stud service in exchange for financing the film. Although Ted swears that he has stopped gambling and drinking, Robinson turns him down when Ted insists on directing the project. With money he has earned from Don Juan's stud service, Ted puts Suzie under contract and announces that he is going to Las Vegas to try and interest investors in his project. Worried about his friend, Pepe hitchhikes to Las Vegas where he finds Ted drunk after being rejected for a loan. When Ted explains that he needs $250,000, Pepe pulls out his lucky bull's ear and offers him the contents of his piggy bank as a gambling stake in return for partnership in the picture. After Ted passes out, however, Pepe cashes in his savings and makes the rounds of the casino, winning at the slot machines, roulette, blackjack and craps table, then quitting only when he has raised $250,000. As promised, Ted makes Pepe his producer, but upon arriving home, Ted begins to worry that Suzie may not be able to carry the film. Soon after, filming begins in Acapulco, Mexico, where Suzie, Pepe and Ted attend a charity benefit hosted by French singer Maurice Chevalier. Suzie becomes upset when Ted begins dancing with an attractive woman, and when Pepe tries to comfort her, Suzie, out of gratitude, tells Pepe she loves him. Believing that Suzie harbors romantic feelings for him, Pepe consults Chevalier about love, and the singer advises him to wait "until bells ring out" to be sure she truly loves him. Soon after, Ted runs out of money and travels to Hollywood to raise additional funds. Suzie, who is angry at Ted because he continually insults Pepe's attempts to be helpful, again tells Pepe that she loves him, and when he hears the cathedral bells ring, he thinks of Chevalier's words and hurries to Mexico City to buy an engagement ring. When Ted returns, he regretfully informs Pepe that he had to sell Don Juan to Robinson to finance the picture. Pepe then reassures Ted that he will not be lonely because he is going to marry Suzie. Once Ted completes the picture, Robinson comes to Mexico to screen it and Suzie overhears him tell Ted that he was wrong to question Suzie's ability as a star. Suzie then realizes that Don Juan was the price Robinson exacted for allowing her to star in the film and reconciles with Ted. In the theater lobby, Pepe tells Robinson that he is going to marry Suzie and Robinson replies that Suzie is in love with Ted. Heartbroken, Pepe hands the ring to Robinson and asks him to give it to Suzie and Ted as a wedding present. When Robinson presents the ring to Suzie and Ted, Suzie realizes that Pepe has misunderstood her feelings, and Ted refuses to sell Robinson control of the film unless he returns Don Juan to Pepe. All ends happily when the picture is a success and Don Juan makes Pepe a "grandfather."