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When Carvel Judge James K. Hardy receives an urgent note from his old friend and childhood sweetheart Dora Northcote, he decides to take the Hardy family West to the ranch which Dora and her husband Bill own near Medville, Arizona. It seems that Dora and Bill are in danger of losing their ranch because H. R. Bruxton, who holds the water rights to their property, is threatening to cut off their water. The judge's son Andy is ready to be an old-fashioned cowboy, even though the ranch is very modern, and dresses up in chaps and a ten-gallon hat. Because he has had a silly quarrel with his girl friend, Polly Benedict, Andy is hoping for new female companionship, but finds only "Jake," the little daughter of ranch foreman Ray Holt. Jake and Andy become friends while his sister Marian, who has had a fight with her boyfriend, Dennis Hunt, back home, becomes infatuated with Ray, who is a widower. While the judge and his wife Emily try to help the Northcotes, Andy tries to prove himself as a cowboy. At the same time, Marian and Ray decide that they want to marry. Realizing that Marian is not ready to care for a daughter as well as a husband, Judge Hardy suggests that she care for Jake for a while. Jake's dirty tricks and Marian's failure to take care of a household even for a few hours convinces her that she cannot marry Jay Andy, however, is still trying to show off and while riding Jake's horse, he entangles it in a lariat, and the horse breaks his leg. Jake's grief makes Andy realize his stupidity, and he borrows money from his father, using his beloved car as collateral, to pay for a veterinarian who can save the horse. Feeling that he has found a way to help the Northcotes, the judge invests his own money in a real estate scheme, but it backfires and the Hardys also face losing everything. Back in Carvel, the judge's despondency is cured when Emily shows him a map pattern on an old Indian blanket which the Northcotes gave to the family as a parting gift. The map shows conclusively that the Northcotes can divert the water back to their own property, thus saving everyone from financial ruin. The Hardy children's love lives are also saved from ruin when Marian makes up with Dennis and Andy is warmly greeted by Polly at a party at her house.