Recently widowed mother, Shirley Partridge who's struggling to raise her five children who are playing in a band and, Shirley works a bank teller. Older brother and sister Keith (Lead vocals and guitar) and Laurie (Keyboards). Younger brothers and sister Danny (Bass guitar), Chris (Drums) and, Tracy (Tamborine and percussion) are playing in a band called "The Partridge Family". Ruben Kincaid, a kid hater was signed as their manager. Finally, the kids asked their mother to join the band. Reluctantly, she agreed but, for a single condition: if she faints the kids have ...
While parking their bus, Shirley bumps into a car. There is no damage, but when the driver finds they are famous, he fakes an injury for the insurance. Shirley and the family try to prove he is not injured by staying with him 24 hours.
Danny receives a letter from the Draft Board that he's been drafted into the United States Army. Shirley contacts he Draft Board and tries to convince them that Danny is 12, but they won't believe her; On top of that, they say the Draft Board doesn't make mistakes and he is to report. Now the family has to try once again to convince the Army that Danny is too young to serve and he reports as ordered.
With a hit record on the radio, Keith is starting to be followed and adored by the girls at his school. He is not too happy about it. However, the one girl he does like is not impressed that he is a recording star.
Danny gives stock advice to a very attractive cocktail waitress during the family's engagement in Las Vegas. However, the girl's very jealous boyfriend sends a couple of his goons to rough Danny because he thinks Danny is a much older man trying to steal his girl. A frightened Danny then runs away in terror thinking that he is about to be rubbed out by the mob.
While the family is on a picnic, a skunk sneaks on board the bus and winds up spraying them. They try the best they can to get rid of the odor without much success; even bathing in tomato juice. However, things go from bad to worse when Reuben informs them that they have been requested to play at a local hospital to entertain some of the children that are patients there.
After a song performance, Danny has an awkward moment when he is tangled with his microphone cord. The audience laughs at the moment, but Danny thinks they are laughing at him. He decides to add jokes to the Partridge Family performances.
When the Partridges are invited by to play a show at a prison, one of the inmates fakes an epidemic just to try to sell them some songs he claims to have written. However, a complication arises when an inmate who claims to be the true author confronts Shirley. She then comes up with a novel concept to try to prove who the real author is.
Keith's latest girlfriend is a member of a junior women's lib organization and he volunteers the group to play at one of their rallies without their knowledge. Unfortunately, they soon run afoul of a right wing conservative group that is bent on preventing the rally from taking place. However, Keith soon finds out that taking up a liberal cause is not all that its cracked up to be when his girlfriend threatens to break up with him if the family doesn't sing from a set list she has prepared rather than their first number-one hit, "I Think I Love You".
The family gets a good review from a famous columnist after one of their recent performances. However, she was seemingly impressed with Danny and declares him a future star. Unfortunately, Danny lets the review go to his head and is seriously contemplating leaving the band, even to the point where he holds auditions for his replacement. Now it is up to Shirley to convince her middle son that going solo is not such a hot idea.
While in a small town for a performance, the Partridges and their manager attend the Sunday church service. Shirley and Reuben recognize the church singer as a formerly famous folk singer. They want to help him start his career again.
The Partridges are booked for a huge European tour. However, the booking agent in charge of the tour thinks that Shirley is too old and won't book them if she is part of the group. This then causes Shirley to doubt her continuing role in the band and contemplate retirement. However, the kids conspire to keep their mom from becoming a retired rock and roll star even to the point of intentionally giving a bad performance.
Laurie gets the bad news that she needs braces just as she thinks Jerry, the boy across the street, might finally get up the nerve to ask her to go steady. However, if that wasn't bad enough, Reuben informs the Partridges that they have been booked to appear on a high profile talk show. Things then go from bad to worse when Laurie's braces somehow pick up radio signals during rehearsals and causes her to play a different tune than what the band is. Who knew braces could be so complicated?
Shirley's former co-worker who talks about how wonderful Shirley's life must be now that she is famous. Shirley thinks they are still a normal family, so when on a tour Danny talks about the high life, Shirley thinks it is time for a break.
The Partridges and Ruben are in Detroit for a performance. Due to a booking mix-up, they arrive at the place where the Temptations are expected. The audiences are totally different. The Partridges agree to perform and hope for the best.
After arriving in town to play at a club, Laurie finds a former classmate works at the club. The entire club staff walks out in protest against management. Laurie takes a stand and refuses to perform so she can join the picket line.
Ruben meets a woman and it seems like love. They talk of marriage, but she wants Ruben to stop managing the band. Shirley tells him the Partridges can find another manager and to follow his heart. Then the Partridges realize they need Ruben
Keith has a new, albeit junk, car. He keeps putting money into restoring the car and make car payments. Out of money, Keith turns to Danny for help. Danny puts Keith on a tight budget so he can have money for the car and to go to the prom.
The Partridges and Ruben meet a girl at a diner who wants to hitch a ride when they drive off to Albuquerque. They take her along on the bus, and then the police catch up with them because the girl is a habitual run-away.
Lester is a new transfer to San Pueblo High and he already is beginning to develop a reputation as quite the ladies man. However, Keith panics when he hears that Laurie has accepted a date with the Lothario. After Danny plants the seed in his head that he might try something with Laurie, Keith goes after them with Danny in tow to make sure his sister's reputation remains intact, even though he promised Shirley he would butt out. Unfortunately, Keith's efforts meet with disastrous results as he winds up humiliating his sister. Now he must find a way to make it up to ...
The Partridges meet Bobby Conway, a composer who plays beautiful music and who is looking for a lyricist. They introduce him to Lionel Poindexter, whose poetry could provide excellent lyrics for Bobby's music. But Lionel's many eccentricities may drive Bobby away instead.