Old Hutch, a penniless ne'er-do-well who has not worked a single day since he married his wife twenty years ago, has a brood of children to support, but would rather while away the hours fishing at his favorite spot along a nearby creek. His nagging wife tries in vain to improve things for her family, suggesting that they take up an offer from the Gunnisons, local land owners, to work on their idle farm and earn a decent living, but the lazy Hutch resists. Forced to support the family, Irene, Hutch's eldest daughter, takes a job at Elliot's drugstore, where she notices that Dave Jolly, a well-to-do college student and son of a prominent banker, has taken an interest in her. While Hutch fishes at his usual spot along the stream, locals tease him about being the town loafer, but his luck soon changes when he comes across a tin box containing $100,000. Knowing that no one would believe that he earned the money, Hutch decides to bury the treasure and come back for it after getting a job, which would allow him to pass the money off as hard-earned wages. Hutch buys a new hat and then tells his wife that he will accept Gunnison's offer to farm his land. As soon as he establishes himself at his job, however, he discovers that a construction shanty, which is to be used during the building of a new bridge across the creek, has been erected directly over his buried treasure. One night, hoping to scare off the inhabitant of the shack and regain access to his cache, Hutch approaches it dressed as a ghost, but soon flees when he is fired upon. After extorting $1,000 from Dave's father, who is financing the building of the bridge onto Gunnison's property, Hutch has enough money to carry him over until the shack is removed. Dave, who accompanied his father on the trip to the Hutchinses, is formally introduced to Irene, and before leaving, he invites her to a party. When Hutch goes to cash the banker's payment, he nearly faints when he learns that the banks are checking all the serial numbers of $1,000 bills against those known to be missing from a recent Buffalo bank heist, in which $100,000 was stolen. The panicked farmer quickly makes travel arrangements to the South Seas, where he thinks he can cash the stolen bills without risk. In need of immediate access to his money, Hutch goes to Jolly to ask if he can tear down the shack and use the wood to build a chicken coop, but he accidentally stumbles upon Dave's party, where he proceeds to create a scene during a poetry recital. Irene escorts her father home, and his wife upbraids him for ruining their daughter's evening. The dejected farmer then leaves his home and goes to dig up his treasure, but when he finds that the money has been removed from the box, he collapses. He is found the next day and, while being nursed back to health by Irene, divulges the truth about the money to her in his delirious mutterings. After his recovery, Hutch returns to the creek, where a carload of gangsters abduct him and, after informing him that they have recovered the money that they buried, force him into laundering the money for them. They make Elliot's drugstore their first stop, and Irene, noticing her father's suspicious escorts, calls the police. Hutch is unable to stall the thieves until the police arrive, and the gangsters take off with him. A chase ensues and during the escape, Hutch faints across the front seat and causes an accident. The robbers are caught, and after Hutch's innocence is proven, the farmer is hailed as a hero and rewarded $5,000 for his help. He thus earns his first honest dollar in twenty years.