In the sheriff’s family the kid brother has to wash the dishes; but he gives permission for a medicine show, falls in love with the girl, and tries to help when the town’s money for a dam is stolen.
The Professor Powers Medicine Show travels in a wagon drawn by horses. Professor Powers has died, and his daughter Mary Powers (Jobyna Ralston) is carrying on with the show. Flash Farrell (Eddie Boland) is driving the wagon, and Mary wakes and says she is sorry she let him convince her to go on with the show. He says there is no show without her, and it will be okay.
On a farm three men are hauling a tree trunk. The youngest brother, Harold Hickory (Harold Lloyd), is churning cream and hanging out laundry on the back porch. Strong Jim Hickory (Walter James), Leo Hickory (Leo Willis), and Olin Hickory (Olin Francis) walk into the house. Jim tells Harold they are going to a meeting, and he wants his Sunday shirt. A goat starts chewing on the clothes, and Harold chases after the line of clothes. His neighbor Hank Hooper (Ralph Yearsley) hates Harold for having sold him door knobs for fresh eggs. Harold catches up to his line of clothes; but Hank thinks he is taking theirs, and they quarrel. Hank chases Harold, who is gathering the strewn clothes. Sam Hooper (Frank Lanning) comes out of the house and talks with the Sheriff, who is passing by on his wagon. They catch Hank and Harold and castigate them.
On the road Flash asks a man on a horse about Hickoryville and who signs the permits for shows there. The man says Sheriff Jim Hickory does not like shows. In the house the Hickorys are getting dressed. Jim tells Harold he has to stay home from the town meeting, and the three men walk out. Harold is disappointed and takes off his coat. He sees Jim’s vest with his sheriff badge and puts it and his gun belt and hat on. Hank hits Harold with a rock from a slingshot and runs off. Flash on the wagon sees Harold pointing the gun and introduces himself and his show from New York, and he gets him to sign a permit and gives him a leaflet about their show.
At the town meeting men who have paid shares for the County Dam have signed a paper, and they entrust Sheriff Hickory with the money. Sam Hooper objects that it may not be safe with him. Outside the wagon has been opened for a show. Mary runs away from the attentions of Sandoni (Constantine Romanoff). She sees Harold, and they smile. She gets behind him. Harold grabs a stick on which a snake is curled, and Sandoni runs off. Mary is frightened and jumps into Harold’s arms. He puts her down, and she thanks him and says he made the Hickory name famous. He says she means his father and brothers. She calls him modest, shakes hands, and walks away. Harold climbs up a tree and calls to her, asking her name. He climbs up higher and asks where she lives. She says the Medicine Show is by the river. He climbs higher and waves goodbye. He falls, and the branches break his fall to the ground.
At a table Jim tells the other three Hickorys they can be proud. He tells Harold to do the dishes. Harold pours heated water into a pot, wraps dishes in a net and spins them in the hot water. Then he pulls them out and removes the net. He puts them on a board over the stove to dry and then puts the board in the cabinet with the shelves. Jim has written a letter to the state treasurer and asks them how it sounds. He asks the boys to sign it. Olin and Leo sign, and he lets Harold sign it too. A neighbor comes in and asks if they are going to the medicine show. Jim asks who gave them permission to play. They turn to Harold, who has slipped out. He says he will mail the letter. Jim asks if he gave them permission and pins his badge on Harold, telling him to go down and stop the show. Harold leaves.
Mary dances at the show. Harold tries to get through the crowd and follows a man and then a dog. A lit cigarette is dropped on his neck. He gets to the front and listens to Flash making a pitch for a bottle of medicine. Harold says his father sent him to stop the show if he does not mind. Flash continues to sell and performs a card trick with Harold, who falls through a trap door in the floor. Flash says they will be entertained by the beauty. He opens the curtain, and Harold is there. He says they must stop the show, or he will have them arrested. Flash asks where his authority is and pins his badge on his rear, making fun of him. Flash puts handcuffs on Harold, and they put him on a rack. The three other Hickorys arrive. Hank with a pole pushes Harold into a flame. The gas lamp falls and catches the stage on fire. People run off, and Jim warns Flash he has 24 hours to be gone. Mary tells Harold she will get the key. As the fire burns, Leo tells Jim that the kid is to blame. Harold hides in a basket, and Hank fastens it closed.
Later Mary is sitting on the basket by the charred remains. Harold rattles the top and emerges. She unlocks the handcuffs and cries on his chest. Jim opens an umbrella and walks home with her. His brothers in their nightshirts see them coming in and run into a room. Harold has her sit down and goes upstairs. He closes his father’s door, and brings down bedding for Mary. She makes a bed on the couch, and he puts up a line and uses a cloth as a curtain. He asks if she wants some hot coffee. They go into the other room, and his brothers flee. Harold heats coffee and sees his brothers hiding. He tells Mary it is the wind. The brothers are outside in the cold rain and try to come back in, but Harold and Mary return to the main room. Harold shows her photos while his brothers crawl in and up the stairs. They hear a knock, and Harold opens the door. Her brother and ma are there to take her home. He says she cannot stay there without any womenfolk because it is not decent. Mary says she will go, and they hand her a coat. Harold asks her is she will go with him to the celebration for the dam tomorrow, and they leave. Harold is afraid to go upstairs and pretends to tell Mary he is going out to the barn, but he sleeps on the couch.
Flash reads a newspaper about how the Sheriff is keeping the money for the dam until tomorrow, and he tells Sandoni.
Jim, Leo, and Olin are eating breakfast, and the brothers tell Jim that Mary is asleep in the parlor. They leave quietly. Olin comes back and says he will fetch her some breakfast. Leo returns, and Olin hands food around the curtain. Harold puts on curtain rings as bracelets and takes the food. He is eating when Leo hands him breakfast over the curtain. Leo has an apple, and Olin comes back with flowers. They both hand them around the curtain but then see Mary approaching from outside. They remove the curtain and chase Harold outside. He hides behind sunflowers, but a bee goes down his back. Harold gets in a carriage, but the horse is not attached. He helps his father with his coat, and his brothers fight their father by mistake. Jim gets in the carriage and leaves. Harold tells them he will not let them off easy next time, and Mary hears him. Harold and Mary get water at the well, and she says she is working for her board at the Hoopers. His brothers come up and send Harold to get her wraps. Leo sends Olin after Harold, who runs out of the house and pretends he is chasing Olin. He warns him so that Mary can hear, and he hands her the clothes. She gets on a wagon and leaves. Harold runs after her and is followed by his brothers. He picks up her wraps, and his brothers lose sight of him. They see him picking flowers and run after him. Jim tells them to get dressed for the celebration.
Hank Hooper invites Mary to go with him. Harold approaches and looks in the window. Mary sees him. Harold throws a rock that hits Hank, who goes after him with a club.
In town people have gathered. Harold walks on the road with Mary, and they learn from people going the other way that the money for the dam was stolen. In the house Jim tells men that he found the strong box open and the money gone. Sam Hooper blames him. Jim sees the leaflet for the medicine show, and he says he will get those who did it. The men say they will stay there, and he says he will deputize his sons. Jim sends Leo and Olin to arrest the men with the show but tells Harold it is a man’s job. Mary asks Harold if he is going with his brothers, and he says they don’t reckon much on him. He says he is not what she thinks; he was pretending. She says he can be without pretending. She tells him to have confidence in himself no matter what others think. Hank points at them and runs after them with two men. Harold falls in a small boat, and the two men take Mary.
Olin tells Jim he thinks they got away. Harold in the rowboat finds himself next to a large ship. He sees the list of subscribers and climbs a ladder and boards the ship. He looks around but does not see anyone. In a room Flash and Sandoni are counting the money. They get into a fight. Harold comes in and tries to hide. Sandoni captures Flash and lights a candle. A monkey pulls at his leg. He sees Harold, who points at him. He chases Harold, whose foot gets caught in a rope. Harold goes into rooms and hides in a closet. He releases the monkey wearing shoes, and Sandoni follows the sound of the footsteps. Harold has the money in a suitcase but puts it on a table and flees. He puts a pipe through the window as if it were a gun barrel. Then he goes in to get the money but runs away again. Sandoni grabs him, punches him, and throws him down in the hold. They fight, and he keeps knocking Harold down. Harold runs off, and Sandoni throws a hatchet at him. Harold grabs the hatchet and cuts a rope that causes Sandoni to fall in the water. He shouts that he cannot swim, and Harold tries to keep him from getting out of the water. He pulls Sandoni toward the water. They fight, and Harold avoids the punches. He throws a log at Sandoni, and they both fall into the water and go under. When they come up, Harold rescues Sandoni and ties his feet and hands.
Leo comes back and tells Jim he went to the county line and could not find them. Sam accuses Jim of stealing the money, and they struggle; but others stop the fight.
Harold puts the money back in the bag while Sandoni cannot reach him from the window. Sandoni gets the bag, and Harold throws a stack of life-saving loops around him and hoists him with a rope and tackle. He lowers him to the water and sits on the loops and paddles with a broom.
Sam wants to put Jim under arrest, and Jim puts his badge on the table. They tie up Jim and march on the road with him. Harold is driving a wagon with captured Sandoni in the back. Hank hits Jim with a rock. In the wagon Sandoni stands up and falls back. Harold meets the men marching with the wagon and holds up the bag of money. He gets down and hands the bag to Jim who is released and says Harold is a “real Hickory.” They congratulate Harold, and he walks off with Mary. Harold sees Hank on the road, and they fight in the dust. Hank is knocked down, and Harold walks off with Mary.
This comedy depicts a young man who is disregarded by his older brothers and father; but to win the love of a girl he pretends to be strong and capable. He keeps trying so hard and puts out so much effort that he eventually succeeds in saving the day.