This is another Spencer Tracy movie -- I don't remember why I put them all on or where I got the titles -- and another good one. It was designed to show how awful mob rule is.
A woman and man are in love, but don't have enough money yet to get married. She goes to another town because she can get a better-paying job there. He writes her regularly and finally he tells her he's coming to get her because he has enough money.
He takes what he thinks is a shortcut to a road, but is stopped by a deputy sheriff. It turns out the peanuts in his pocket are enough to get him taken to the sheriff's office (the ransom note had peanut husks and salt on it), and then they find a bill in his wallet that matches one in a ransom (but he'd stopped and bought things and got change). Three men and one woman kidnapped a young woman and when they got the ransom, they killed her. People are furious locally and while the sheriff keeps saying there isn't any proof that our guy is one of the three, the deputy sheriff goes out and starts passing it on (at one point there's an image of chickens cackling).
The locals are so sure he's the one who killed the young woman that they burn down the sheriff's office and then use dynamite to make sure. As it happens, the explosion knocks the cell doors down and he was able to get out the back, while badly burned. He stays away, in hiding, from everybody except his brothers because he wants all the locals who were involved to die.
The next day, all the papers have headlines that the three men and one woman had been captured in another town.
The people in the town all agree to lie that nobody did anything and do that in court. He and his fiancee have an argument about what he's doing -- killing 22 people. He thinks they deserve it because they tried to kill him. He leaves in anger and starts remembering ways he and his fiancee talked and other good things and then goes to court.