We learn that although Jimmy used to be a bank robber, he was reformed once he met the love of his life.
Jimmy seems to have been an excellent criminal with good political connections. He serves 10 months of a four year sentence in jail, but he expected to serve much less.
When a man with as many friends on the outside as Jimmy Valentine had is received in the "stir" it is hardly worth while to cut his hair.
He thought his friends would get him out of prison before it would be necessary to cut his hair, as they usually do when a prisoner enters the system. Jimmy was there long enough. The warden even says that he is “not a bad fellow at heart,” and he just needs to stop cracking safes.
Jimmy has no intention of reforming. He goes to get a new start, but soon there were robberies with his signature. Investigator Ben Price took notice.
Jimmy’s reformation began when he arrived in the little town of Elmore, Arkansas.
A young lady crossed the street, passed him at the corner and entered a door over which was the sign, "The Elmore Bank." Jimmy Valentine looked into her eyes, forgot what he was, and became another man.
It was love at first sight. It did not take long for Jimmy to become reformed, but he really was. Ironically, he proves it by cracking a safe. When his lovely lady’s little sister locks herself inside the safe in the bank, no one knows the combination. Jimmy has to use his skills to rescue her. Instead of arresting him, Price realizes that sacrifice he made and decides to let him go. He feels that Jimmy has retrieved his reformation, and will never crack another safe to steal.