powered by AFI
Hugh Mitchell, a practical-minded attorney, has no rapport with his young son Danny. Seeking to become close to the boy, Hugh plans a father-and-son luncheon, with several of Danny's friends, but Danny would rather go to the carnival than attend the stuffy affair. At the luncheon, all the boys are bored until Danny's German shepherd dog Rusty instigates a fight with another dog, thus disrupting the entire afternoon. Rusty's behavior infuriates Hugh, and drives father and son further apart. Soon after, Dr. Francis Xavier Fay, an itinerant veterinarian, comes to town and sets up camp in his trailer in the woods. When Danny finds Dr. Fay's little dog wandering outside the Mitchell house, he returns the animal to Dr. Fay, who then invites the boy to star gaze with him. Exasperated by Danny's boyish antics and failing to appreciate his son's good qualities, Hugh objects to Danny's fraternization with Dr. Fay. To disillusion the boy about his new friend, Danny's mother Ethel invites Dr. Fay to dinner, thinking that the doctor will appear out of place in a civilized setting. To the Mitchells' surprise, Dr. Fay arrives wearing a tuxedo and proves himself to be both erudite and sophisticated. The next day, Hugh decides to take Danny to the carnival. When Rusty annoys one of the pitch men trying to hawk his wares, the man kicks the dog and Rusty lunges at him. Furious that Rusty has caused yet another commotion, Hugh orders Danny to muzzle his pet. Rather than obey his father, Danny decides to run away with Rusty to Dr. Fay's camp, and Mrs. Mitchell convinces her husband to let the boy go. After being welcomed by the kindly veterinarian, Danny decides to sleep in a tree house with Rusty. Later that evening, a concerned Hugh visits Dr. Fay, who counsels him to find a way to reconcile with his son. After Hugh leaves, Dr. Fay puts a tea kettle on the stove and then falls asleep. When the kettle boils over and extinguishes the gas flame, Rusty, sensing danger, tries to open the trailer door. Unable to budge the door, Rusty climbs under the trailer, which then collapses on the dog. Hearing Rusty's yelps, Danny hurries to the trailer and finds Dr. Fay unconscious. After Danny pulls him into the fresh air, the doctor regains consciousness and sends the tearful boy to his father while he tends to the injured Rusty. Later, Hugh returns to the camp with Danny and apologizes to the boy. With father and son finally reconciled, Dr. Fay then bandages the injured dog and makes both Hugh and Danny promise to take care of him together. The next morning, a chagrined Mrs. Mitchell comes to the camp to report that Rusty has slipped out of the house and is romping around the neighborhood. After reassuring her that Rusty is completely healthy, Dr. Fay decides that it is time to depart, now that father and son have come to terms with each other.