Bill Davis, owner of a successful construction company, is entertaining a date at his New York apartment. Then, Buffy, his niece and daughter of his dead brother, is brought to him. Bill is ambivalent about taking on this responsibility. He suggests sending Buffy to school in Switzerland. This prompts Buffy to run away, but she only makes it as far as the basement of his apartment building. Giles French, the Davis butler, finds her there and brings her back. Bill and Buffy have a talk, where Bill assures her she can stay if she wants. Until now, she has only called ...
When Bill returns from Africa bearing gifts, Cissy presents him with a hand-knitted tie. Buffy and Jody also want to give Bill a gift, and end up purchasing a horse for him from a retiring carriage driver.
Bill decides to send Cissy to a private girls' school in Connecticut, and even though she would prefer to attend high school locally, she reluctantly agrees to go, thinking Bill wants to get her out of the way.
When Bill gets Cissy her own phone and arranges for an interior decorator to redo Cissy's and Buffy's bedroom, Buffy becomes withdrawn as the changes appear to separate the room and, as a result, she fears Cissy is separating from her.
Buffy leaves Mrs. Beasley with Mr. French, who accidentally knocks the doll off the terrace. When Bill learns from Cissy the importance of Mrs. Beasley to Buffy, he goes on an earnest search to find the doll.
The vice principal and a child psychologist are concerned that Buffy and Jody only spend time with each other instead of playing with the other children, and state that it would be better for them to spend less time together.
Cissy thinks Bill is planning to get married to an old friend, but when her new friend tells her how her stepmothers sent her away, Cissy then suspects that the woman will send her and Buffy and Jody away.
Restless, Bill takes a job in the Yutacan, but then starts to miss the family. It gets worse when he is led to believe, through miscommunication by phone, that Mr. French has the flu and Buffy and Jody are left to take care of him.
Cissy develops an infatuation with her school teacher who teaches philosophy and spouts big ideals that everyone should follow. Bill finds a way to show that the teacher is just a regular man with faults.