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The Pepper children, Polly, Phronsie, Ben, Joey and Davie, and their mother are staying at Mr. King's hilltop mansion when King suffers a heart attack and severe financial reverses. All of King's financial resources are tied up in a copper mine in which the Peppers are his partners. Experts have failed to locate the rich copper vein that Polly's late father believed to be under the property, and now that the bank is pressing for repayment of the loan, King is forced to sell his mansion and move in with the Peppers at Gusty Corners. King also loses custody of his grandson Jasper when the boy's aunt objects to his new "sordid" surroundings. At the Pepper house, King's butler, Martin, tells Polly that he once studied geology, and after examining the mineral samples found on the property, he shares the late Mr. Pepper's enthusiasm for the mine. This encourages Polly to organize a picnic at the mine, but as Martin and the children descend to the main level looking for the lost lode, Ben triggers a rock slide that traps the others in a cave-in. Scrambling out of the mine, Ben peddles off on his bicycle to summon help, returning with King and Jasper to help dig the Peppers out. Meanwhile, inside the mine, Martin, struggling to dig his own way out, causes another slide, which exposes a rich vein of copper. After several frightening hours, the rescue is completed and the Peppers and King are reunited. With the discovery of the vein, King is financially solvent and, having found contentment at the Pepper house, decides to build a new house at Gusty Corners for himself and the Pepper family.