The Harper family has gotten an answering machine. Meanwhile, Mama is unaware that the rest of the family is hiding a dog -- which Naomi has named "Old Lady" -- in the garage, and are trying to find a home for it. When messages turn up on the answering machine offering a new home for "your Old Lady", Mama thinks the rest of the family is trying to get rid of her.
Mama has no sympathy or understanding for the homeless. But after being accidentally arrested during a police round-up of homeless people,she lands in jail and gets to know them better...and is surprised to find her cousin Cora among them.
Lolly Purdue has been an inept President of the Church Ladies League, forgetting directions and piling mailing list duties onto Mama and Iola, among other things. Mama, Iola, and two other CLL members, Florence and Inez, have a secret meeting to discuss impeaching Lolly. But then, Mama discovers the reason behind Lolly's seeming incompetence, and decides to turn the situation around to help her.
After receiving a discouraging report from their fertility doctor, Vint and Naomi decide to adopt. Everything seems to go well until the adoption agency psychologist asks to meet Mama. The interview is a disaster; and the outlook for Vint and Naomi's starting a family is bleak. But then, Naomi receives some astonishing news.
Naomi and Vint read in a magazine how it will cost $168,000 dollars to raise their kid. So they set about coming up with a scheme to make some fast money. Just then Bubba comes home feeling bad, and Mama gives him some of her "Mother Harper's Tonic" and that gives Vint and Naomi an idea. They could sell the tonic and make a fortune. So Naomi gets some bottles from the recycling bin at Food Circus and they start to bottle it. It sells fast and everyone wants more. So Bubba takes it to his swim meet and Thelma takes it with her to the Church Ladies League meeting. ...
Vinton has been spending his evenings away from Naomi, educating a new locksmith. When Mama and Iola find out that the new trainee is a beautiful young woman, they fear the worst, and try to shield the pregnant Naomi from this information.
Vint and Naomi have been following the TV show, "Tri-State's Most Wanted", in order to earn big rewards by catching crooks. But after seeing him appear on the show, Mama believes that the handsome new actor at the Pepperpot Playhouse is one of the criminals.
Mama is not satisfied with the advice she receives from a local consumer affairs radio show. She calls in to complain, and offers advice to other callers on how to resolve their complaints. The radio station is so impressed by Mama's knowledge of local merchants and products, that they give her a radio program of her own.
Vint fears he will lose his job when Kwik Keys is taken over by the Bernice Corporation and turned into a frozen yogurt shop. But then, Mama discovers that she actually has stock shares in Bernice -- and a say in whether they can take over Kwik Keys.
After Mama is turned down for a bank loan for a new furnace, she slips and falls on a roll of pennies left on the floor of the bank. Her injuries are minor, but the rest of the family encourages Mama to sue the bank for a million dollars for negligence.