In a New York club, Hal Bentley, owner of the Baldpate Inn, bets successful writer William Hallowell Magee the sum of $5,000 that he cannot write a book in twenty-four hours while holed up in the Baldpate Inn, which is closed for the winter. Although he Magee is told that there is only one key to the inn, his solitude is soon interrupted by six more visitors, each with his own key. First reporter Mary Norton, with whom Magee is in love, shows up, followed by a crooked mayor, a gangster carrying a $200,000 bribe, a local hermit and the police. Although the police chief tries to steal the money and flee to Canada, the hermit throws the cash into the fire. Finally, Bentley appears and confesses that all of the intruders are actors he hired in order to divert the author and win the bet. Soon after, however, Magee finishes his book and it is revealed that all of the preceeding events have been a fantasy written into the plot. Later, Bentley and Mary return to visit.