The circus is at its winter quarters, and Tim invites Joey to play some pinochle. Joey is too busy doing Corky's laundry, and can't play horseshoes with Pete, either. He goes over to hang up the clothing and chats with Mrs. Larson, who explains that her husband the strongman went fishing and says that it's woman's work. Corky comes over and asks Joey to sew a button on his pants. Joey tosses the wet clothing over the line and it falls off, and Mrs. Larson takes over. She tells Joey that he needs a good wife to take care of such things. Joey half-jokingly agrees, and Corky gets an idea.
Later, Corky asks Tim and Pete for help finding Joey a girl. Tim tells the boy that it's none of his business, and Pete figures that he know the right girl for Joey. He goes to send a telegram and then stops by to see Joey. Pete says that his Susie is coming to visit and isn't married yet, and says that Corky needs a mother. Joey figures that Pete is trying to set him up, and insists that Corky is doing fine as is. The clown figures that Pete is trying to marry off his sister, and Pete takes offense and refuses to let Susie marry Joey.
Later, Joey and Corky are out walking and stop for a breather. Joey asks his nephew if he has everything he wants, and wonders if something is bothering the boy. Corky says that he isn't, and Joey wonders if he ever thinks that he's missing something. A boy, Sid, walks along the fence and explains that it belongs to his family. Corky goes up with him and introduces himself, and they race up the hill to a nearby wagon.
The boys start playing Stagecoach as Joey watches, and the wagon brake gives out. The wagon rolls down the hill and into the nearby town, and rolls over. The boys are all right, and Sid's mother runs over and starts babying him. He breaks into tears and the mother takes him into the house. Corky starts sniffling and runs off when Joey tries to hug him.
Later, Pete is walking Jacky the lion when Joey comes over and apologizes for what he said earlier. Pete accepts his apology and Joey says that he's be honored to meet Susie. He agrees with what Pete said about Corky needing a mother, and Pete makes it clear he'll beat up anyone who doesn't play straight with his sister.
That night, Joey dreams of marrying a veiled Susie while Corky plays Cupid. After the minister declares them clown and wife, Susie removes her veil to reveal Pete's face. Joey yells in his sleep, and Corky wakes him up. His uncle says that he was just dreaming and tells Corky to go back to sleep.
The next morning, Joey dresses up and asks Tim if Susie has arrived. Tim explains that Pete is picking his sister up at the depot, just as their carriage arrives. Pete helps a larger woman off, and Joey faints when he sees her. They wake him up and Pete explains that the woman is Emma, the fat woman that TIm hired for the circus. Susie is a much smaller and more attractive woman. Joey is instantly smitten and she says that she feels like they're old friends after everything Pete has said about her. As Joey shows Susie around, Pete figures that Susie won't be unmarried for very long.
A few days later, Pete visits Susie. She says that the vacation has been just what she needed, and Pete asks if she's considered getting married. Susie says that she's planning on it and leaves.
The next day, Pete tells Tim that Joey has been showing Susie around. Joey brings Susie over to his house where Corky jokingly comments on Joey's starched collar. Susie tells the boy that'll be enough and says that Joey would be better off if he kept the place orderly. She finds an open bottle of fish glue, and Joey explains that Corky is working on a model of the capital building for school. Unimpressed, Susie tells Corky to go back to his homework and leads Joey out.
Pete watches as Joey bids Susie goodbye for the moment. Once Joey is alone, Pete asks him when the wedding is going to be. When Joey hesitates, Pete wonders if he's playing fast and loose with Susie's affections and warns that no one is going to trifle with her. Joey assures him that whatever he's doing, he's not trifling.
Corky is cleaning up the house when Joey comes in. The boy explains that he's doing what Susie said earlier, figuring that's what she wants so that's what it has to be. When Joey says that Corky wants a mother, Corky says that he thought Joey wanted a wife. Corky insists that he doesn't need a mother when he has Joey, and Joey realizes that he's in trouble with Pete. He figures it would break Susie's heart if he said he doesn't want to marry her, and Pete would break him.
Soon, Joey approaches Susie in his roustabout clothing and asks where Pete is. He says that he always dresses like that and wouldn't give up the circus life for anything. Joey starts chewing tobacco and insists that it's the real him, and then passes out from the tobacco. Susie says that she likes the fact that he doesn't want to be dominated, and tells him to never change. Joey quickly excuses himself. Back at the house, Joey considers running away from the circus but figures that it's the coward's way out. Corky suggests scaring Susie with stories of the accidents the circus has, and that they use Jacky even though he's old and tired. They figure that Susie wouldn't know any better and fall for it.
After they release Jacky, the lion goes to Susie's porch. She orders him to go back to his cage, while Corky and Joey watch from hiding. Susie leads it off and puts it in its wagon, and Joey figures that he'll have to tell Pete that the wedding is off... and Corky should visit him in the hospital afterward.
Joey goes to Pete's place and finds Susie there. She introduces Henry, the owner of a flour mill back home. Susie explains that they're going to be married, and have been engaged for months. A relief Joey shakes Henry's hand and says that he's a very fortunate man, and quickly leaves. Pete goes after Joey apologizes for leading him on, and Joey claims that his heart is broken. When the canvasman offers to do anything to cheer him up, Joey has him wash the clothing while he and Corky go fishing. Pete tells him to have a good time fishing and try to get over Susie.
Written by Gadfly on May 9, 2017