In New Jersey, inept storekeeper Harold Bissonette is constantly badgered by his domineering wife Amelia, his obnoxious son Norman and his lovestruck daughter Mildred. When his Uncle Bean dies, Harold uses his $5,000 inheritance to buy an orange ranch in California through Mildred's boyfriend, John Durston, but does not tell Amelia. In the meantime, life's little details continually frustrate Harold. After several catastrophes at his store, variously involving a child, a blind man and molasses, he goes home to a wife who nags throughout the night. Harold tries to sleep on the balcony, where noisy neighbors, children and the milkman contrive to keep him awake. When John finds out that the ranch is no good for growing oranges, he tells Harold, who refuses to believe him. Harold packs up his family and they journey to California in a broken-down "flivver," running into a number of escapades en route. The property in California turns out to be a run-down shack surrounded by acres of dirt and weeds. Amelia furiously takes the children and begins walking off, leaving Harold behind with his faithful dog. Just then their neighbor, Clarence Abernathy, drives up to tell Harold that two racetrack owners are coming to buy Harold's property. The men offer him $25,000 for the land, but despite Amelia's harassment, Harold holds out until he gets $44,000 for Abernathy's commission and a successful orange ranch for himself. In the end, Harold leads a leisurely life as owner of Bissonette's Bluebird Oranges, gaining the peace he so needs while his wife and children attend social functions.