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After an absence of 15 years, international playboy Biddeford "Pogo" Poole returns unexpectedly to San Francisco for the wedding of his daughter Jessica. Though the young girl is immediately captivated by her father's savoir faire, her mother, Pogo's ex-wife, Kate, remains skeptically aloof. In the few remaining days before the wedding, Pogo takes over the household, rearranges the nuptial plans, and escorts Jessica on a whirlwind tour of the city. Overwhelmed by her father's charm, Jessica begins quarreling with her comparatively dull and unsophisticated rancher fiancé, Roger Henderson. Delighted by the turn of events, Pogo concentrates on wrecking both Jessica's pending marriage and Kate's current one to her second husband, wealthy industrialist Jim Dougherty. When Pogo sprains his arm at Roger's ranch, Jessica has a stormy argument with Roger, cancels the wedding, and announces that she is going around the world with her father in order to comfort him "in his old age." Hurt and dismayed by the implications of this declaration, Pogo insists that the wedding proceed, and when it is over he leaves town, taking with him Kate's treasured childhood portrait of Jessica and Jim's prized Chinese houseboy, Toy. All agree, however, that these deprivations are a small price to pay for having had the pleasure of Pogo Poole's company.