The struggling Shady Rest Hotel is further jeopardized when a no-nonsense vice president of the C & FW Railroad is dispatched to investigate the apparently forgotten spur line that connects the towns of Hooterville and Pixley.
Kate uses a combination of charm, subterfuge, and wiles to prevent Homer Bedloe from catching the Hooterville Cannonball and getting to Pixley in order to initiate proceedings that would permanently terminate the train's operation.
Hard-hitting railroad president Norman Curtis travels to Hooterville with the intention of unceremoniously terminating the Cannonball's service, but he has a change of heart when he experiences Kate's hospitality and kindness.
The Shady Rest's Annual Jamboree is threatened when railroad CEO Norman Curtis breaks the Cannonball's throttle lever, but the executive tries to make amends with a determined effort to obtain the nearly-nonexistent replacement part.
Flyod Smoot, the conductor, is courting a women through the mail - but when she ends it after receiving a photo of him, he looses all confidence. Kate tries to help him think all the women from Hooterville and the surrounding area have eyes for him, but instead he gets the idea that Kate has been secretly in love with him - now how does she let him down without breaking his heart again?
Uncle Joe spends Kate's money to buy cases of lousy men and women's cologne to make a fast buck reselling it. The money was intended to put screens in the hotel that will keep mosquitoes from chasing away paying guests, so Kate has to find a way to get money for cologne no one wants before she doesn't have any guests left.
Athletic Betty Jo becomes the first-ever female entrant in the Shady Rest's Annual Horseshoe Tournament, but she experiences conflicting emotions when she finds herself with an opportunity to defeat the legendary Pixley Fats.
Unknown to everyone in the valley, two young men - opinionated Arthur Gilroy and his friend Lowell Rightmeyer who does whatever Arthur says - both strangers to the valley, are on their way to rob the bank in Pixley. They change their plans when they learn that the next day, the Cannonball, without any armed guards, will make its express run from Hooterville to Pixley for the bank shipment. Arthur and Lowell decide to stay the night at the Shady Rest and stop the train the next day by placing a barricade on the tracks so that they can hold it up. Kate and the family ...
The Cannonball and its primary passenger, Uncle Joe, are pelted with eggs after the Hooterville Hornets, coached by Uncle Joe, are drubbed in what may be their worst game ever. Another unexpected passenger on that run is Homer Bedloe, who, despite being hit with a couple of eggs himself, is surprisingly cordial and pleasant. While Uncle Joe doesn't see anything wrong with Bedloe being cordial and taking it like a man in defeat in his efforts to scrap the Cannonball - which probably included being humiliated back at head office for his failures - Kate on the other hand...
When Kate and the girls go into town to pick up the pocket watch they ordered through Drucker's store - the watch being Uncle Joe's birthday present - Kate, in an effort to boost Herby's confidence, he who is working for Sam, inadvertently offers him a job as Assistant Manager at the hotel, with an imminent promotion to Manager. Herby readily accepts. Kate doesn't have the heart not to give him the job, so she decides that she can give him some menial tasks at the hotel under the guise of the important sounding position. However, Uncle Joe believes that Herby's ...
Uncle Joe has come up with another scheme to attract guests to the hotel: advertise it as a wedding/honeymoon destination. The special wedding/honeymoon package would include among other things Uncle Joe actually officiating the wedding ceremony. The existing Justice of the Peace just resigned and with two months until the next election, Uncle Joe plans on getting Sam, the county judge, to appoint him JP pro tempore until the election. Uncle Joe figures that by the time the election rolls around, his experience will sweep him to an election win. Kate and the girls ...
Mrs. Gladys Stroud, a renowned hotel critic, decides to come and review the Shady Rest after she is accidentally sent a brochure uncle Joe made. This was the vision of what he hoped the hotel would one day be, including indoor ice rink, bowling alley, and swimming pool. Now the family has to scramble to keep her from finding out the truth and closing them down for lying.
The Bradleys, Sam Drucker, Herby, Charlie and Floyd are decorating the Cannonball for it's annual Christmas Eve trip of caroling, gift-giving and merriment around the valley, but Homer Bedloe is determined to be a Scrooge and take possession of the train on Christmas Eve.
Herby is depressed when he gets drafted, so the girls cheer him up by suggesting he could be an astronaut. Uncle Joe hears this and decides he needs promote Herby's future political career to the whole town. When Herby gets a discharge for minor medical problems, Kate finds a way for him to save face with Bobbie Jo and the rest.