Grandpa, Luke, Kate, Hassie and Little Luke McCoy travel from Smokey Corners, West Virginia to California. They take over an inherited farm and everyone loves it, but Grandpa who has trouble adjusting to the new place.
The McCoys find out that they are three months behind on their mortgage payments and will lose the farm if they can't come up with the money. Grandpa fears that he will have to sell a 200 year old flintlock family rifle to get the payment.
Kate pointedly tells Luke that he is welcome to go fishing with Grandpa and Mac Maginnis and to do whatever he wishes for several nights thereafter, but Grandpa steps in to make amends when he realizes that Luke's "freedom" is causing a genuine strain on their still-young marriage.
Grandpa has Luke prepared for the worst when it is learned that Kate's mother is coming for a visit, but everyone is surprised when she arrives and repeatedly chides Kate for being insufficiently attentive to Luke's needs.