Thelma is cooking breakfast, Michael is returning from an argument with a playmate, and J.J. is getting the mail. Soon the three are bickering and disturb Florida from her rest from an appendectomy. She emerges from her bedroom and quiets everyone down.
J.J. dispenses the mail and tries to hide a final eviction notice from Florida, who wonders why no previous warnings had been given. The children explain that James didn't want to worry her while she recuperated from surgery.
James arrives home from work, explains that some of the rent money went to pay for Florida's operation, and tries to reassure her that his buddy Monty says the family would get an extension. A guilt-ridden Florida is skeptical and still wonders how the rent will be paid.
Willona arrives, gets wind of the Evanses' desperate situation and offers help, but a proud James refuses. Everyone comes up with ways of coming up with the money for the rent, but none of the ideas is acceptable to James and Florida.
Tom and Eddie, workers for the housing authority, arrive to begin the eviction process, but James manages to delay it until later that evening, giving him time to come up with the rent money. He leaves the apartment bound for the pool hall, despite Florida's objections.
Florida reluctantly goes down to the welfare office with Willona to apply for aid, but is turned down because James makes too much money. Meanwhile, at the Evans' apartment, the children decide to panhandle at Marshall Fields Department Store to try to raise money for the rent. During their "rehearsal," Tom and Eddie arrive to start the eviction. Thelma pretends to be overcome with hunger and faints. Feeling sorry for them, Tom and Eddie give the kids a few dollars. Florida arrives home and is horrified to see that her children are "hustling."
Tom and Eddy attempt once again to initiate the Evanses' eviction, but Florida demands that they wait. Florida goes to her portait of Jesus and begins to pray. James arrives home and tells the children that he came up with the rent money, but has Monty to deliver it so Florida wouldn't think that the money was obtained through gambling. The family is overjoyed at having thwarted another eviction--for the time being, and Florida prays again, thanking God that her family still had a roof over their heads, the children didn't have to do anything illegal, the family didn't have to go on welfare, and for "that great three-cushion shot" that won James his little windfall.