A young man returns to inherit his father's estate and realizes he is the target in a family feud.
About 1810 Joseph Canfield urges her brother not to kill a McKay, but he does and is killed himself. Joseph vows to continue the feud. Mrs. McKay takes her baby to New York in order to avoid the feud.
Twenty years later Aunt Mary (Kitty Bradbury) has raised Willie McKay (Buster Keaton), who learns he has inherited the estate of John McKay. Aunt Mary tells him about the feud, and he promises to avoid the Canfields.
Willie travels on a primitive train with Virginia Canfield (Natalie Talmadge). Joseph Canfield (Joe Roberts) tells his sons Clayton (Ralph Bushman) and Lee (Craig Ward) that their sister is coming. The train is not smooth and has various mishaps. In a tunnel Willie and the woman get soot on their faces.
The Canfields welcome Virginia and take her home. Willie tells a man that he is the son of John McKay. Willie tries to stop a man from beating his wife, but she hits him. Joseph Canfield learns that a McKay is in town. By the fence Virginia sees Willie and invites him to supper. Willie finds the old McKay house is falling apart. The Canfields shoot at Willie. He buys a fishing pole and catches a small fish he uses as bait. Two men blow up the dam so they can irrigate. Willie is hit by a waterfall.
When Willie arrives, Joseph tells his sons not to shoot their guest while he is in their house. The parson visits, and Willie learns they are Canfields. At the table Willie is jumpy. After the meal he shakes hands but delays leaving by playing with the dog. Because of rain Joseph invites the parson to stay. Willie gets his bag and goes upstairs too.
The next day Willie stays in the house. When he steps out, he risks being shot. Joseph sees Willie kiss Virginia. Willie dresses as a woman, escapes, and gets on the train. The Canfields are searching, and Willie takes a horse. They chase him to a cliff. The Canfields borrow a rope to swing down. Willie falls into the river and has a rope around him. He gets out of the river, but the rope gets attached to the train and pulls him. His car goes off the track and into the river. Willie floats downstream. Virginia sees him and takes a rowboat, but she falls out. Willie is tied to a log which gets stuck over a waterfall. He tries to untie the rope but swings across in time to grab Virginia and save her. They embrace, and the parson takes them in his buggy.
The Canfields stop searching at night and find Virginia and Willie in her room. She asks them to kiss the bride. Joseph has his sons put their guns on the table. Then Willie puts several guns on the table too.
This farce satirizes the famous feud of the Hatfields
and McCoys which is regulated by hospitality for invited guests.
Once again love ends the destructive hostility.