What was the basis of the law? The exact wording of the law was, "it shall be unlawful ... to teach any theory that denies the story of Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." The law applied to public schools and public colleges. The two clashing men argued about Cain's wife, Jonah and the whale, or fish, that the sun stood still during the battle of Jericho, and quibbled about how long the tower of Babel had been built. Bryan did admit that 'six days' in which God created the earth could have been geological eras. Later, the judge, having heard the arguments, dismissed the proceedings and found Scopes guilty.
Historical: In 1927 the Tennessee Supreme Court voided the fine, but not the conviction. The movie Inherit the Wind was not based on actual facts Scopes told me, but some of the parts were true. William Jennings Bryan died five days after the trial from a heart attack; his was a hefty girth, poor health and age 65. The day before his death he made a speech to 8,000 supporters.
Clarence Darrow returned to Chicago to practice law. Who won? Even John Scopes told me that it was a tie. Bryan established his creationism and Darrow won the scientists' debate. This trial is one of the most revisited events in American history. I still have his autograph on the program for the production we attended in Monroe, LA. John Scopes was a geologist for the Louisiana Light and Power Company until his death.
Sources: Interview with John Scopes Library of Congress American Heritage - Fred Schwarz