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"Pinkie" Wingate and her little brother Billie are very disturbed that their widowed mother Dotty plans to marry sour local banker Arthur Drubbs. Although Dotty does not love Drubbs, she is almost destitute and thinks that marriage to him is the only way to help Pinkie and Billie. "Buzz" Mitchel, Pinkie's high school sweetheart, concocts a plan with Pinkie to abduct Dotty and take her for a holiday in the country in the family's trailer. They are aided by Buzz's Uncle Joe, who detests Drubbs. Though she is at first angry, Dotty goes along with the scheme, but tells Buzz that she still plans to marry Drubbs when they return to Manson, their home town. Because they don't have much time, Buzz and Pinkie resolve to find Dotty a better prospective husband while they are on the open road. The next morning Buzz meets a fellow camper, Richard Thurlow, who seems to be perfect. He is a New York City lawyer, an amateur photographer and inventor and a "free soul" like Dotty's late husband. Although the two get off to a bad start when Billie gets sprayed by a skunk, ruining one of Richard's photographs, they are soon attracted to each other. Matters are complicated, however, when they children meet J. J. Slattery, a wealthy widower who owns an insurance company, loves children, and jokingly asks to "adopt" Billie. When Richard tells Dotty that he likes her because she has no sense of responsibility, she tells him that her children are more important than living on the open road and vows to return to Manson and marry Drubbs. After overhearing the conversation, Pinkie decides to ask Slattery to adopt her, too, so that Dotty can be happy with Richard. Slattery fixes things when he tells Richard what has happened and then arranges for the police to stop the Wingate trailer and hold it until Richard arrives. Richard then decides to take charge of the family and drive on together.