Advertising man Jim Blandings and his wife, Muriel, harassed by city living, decide to move to the country. Jim goes to Connecticut to look at old houses and is enticed into buying a run-down farm. It soon becomes apparent that Jim has not only been overcharged, but he has also been sold a lemon. Muriel, loudly seconded by Bill Cole, Jim's attorney, advises him that the situation is not as bad as it appears. As Jim and Muriel try to decide what needs to be done to the house, and how they should go about making the improvements, the dream house looks more and more like a nightmare. Estimates from the local contractors - whom all advise a quick and merciful death for the collapsing relic - rise higher and higher. Jim discovers that he only owns 31 acres of land, whereas he thought he was buying 50. And to top it all off, he wonders just how fond Bill and Muriel are of each other. Jim refuses to give up hope. The old house swallows more of his time and money than he thought possible, but, through his persistence, Jim finally gets his dream house.