Carol is staying with her Aunt Mary, who is unwell. Mike hopes Alice can run the place single-handed. But Alice slips on the Chinese checkers board and sprains her ankle badly. The kids are sorry for leaving the checker board there, especially as they were not supposed to leave their toys on the floor. Mike tells them that Alice is laid-up, so they are all in charge of running the house, and no excuses.
But breakfast brings problems. The girls are bickering, not working together, their cooking is a disaster, and the kitchen is piled up with dishes. The boys are reluctant to have breakfast in there, and Mike gives them money to buy something while he braves the kitchen. His reward is stewed coffee, a plateful of fried eggs that have been picked off the floor, and toast that is overburnt. All of a sudden, Mike says he has to rush. He tells the girls to remind the boys to come straight home from school for housework detail.
More problems occur. Tiger's kennel gets flooded because Greg left the sprinkler on too long. Jan gets covered in suds because she put too much powder in the washing machine, and the suds reach the dining room while the clothes wash floats off. The roast they were supposed to have for dinner gets burned to a crisp, so Mike goes to Sam's butcher shop for more meat. It is then that Sam finds out about Alice's sprain. Mike goes home with chops, and he finds peas and potatoes overburnt.
The phone rings. It is Carol. Cindy begs to talk to her, and as she does, she knocks the salad to the floor. The other kids cluster around, begging to talk to Carol and reporting more problems. When Carol hears Alice is hurt, she offers to come home, and is asking about the commotion in the background. Mike insists everything is fine.
Sam comes with candies and flowers for Alice. They realize that Alice cannot come with him to the Meatcutters Ball. Sam has to go as he is on the entertainment committee. Alice says she does not mind if Sam takes someone else, in case she is not fit enough by then. But after Sam leaves, Alice is in tears.
Carol's call to Mike stirs Marcia's conscience. She tells Greg that they must all work together to take care of the house, as a team. Greg agrees, and soon Alice is surprised and delighted to see how zealous the kids are in working together to mind the house. They are even more surprised to see the dinner service the kids are offering them. Alice tells Mike not to question the miracle; just accept and enjoy it.
But Alice is checking every girl Sam knows, and not one of them is the replacement date for the Meatcutters' Ball. But she knows Sam has to be going with someone, and is sad that it is not her. Mike goes to see Sam, to buy steaks for dinner. He tells Sam that Alice is still not fit enough for the dance.
Mike tells the kids how proud he is on their teamwork. They accept the compliment, but realize that they messed up Alice's date with Sam. Mike says there is nothing they can do. The kids are still determined to do something, and decide to take Alice's mind off the dance any way they can. They ask Alice to come down to a feast in the kitchen, big matches on television, play cards, but nothing works. Then Alice gets suspicious of this and comes downstairs to say she guessed what they were up to. She tells them not to worry about her.
Then Alice opens the door to Sam. Sam says he could not go to the dance without her and gives her a nosegay. They settle down to a romantic evening together. Mike and the kids look on quietly, and with delighted relief.
Carol is coming home and everyone is excited. Alice has recovered and is back to housework. But then she trips over the vacuum cleaner. Fortunately, only her dignity gets hurt this time.