After his son John dies, retired widower Gus Witherspoon invites his daughter-in-law Jessica 'Jessie' Witherspoon and her three children to move to California to live with him until they can get back on their feet financially.
Despite protests from her children, Jessie, along with 15-year-old daughter Kris, 12-year-old son David, eight-year-old daughter Molly, and their basset hound named Arthur leave Fort Wayne, Indiana, to start their new lives in California. As they settle into life with Gus, they realize that he can be difficult to live with. A major part of the plot each week was centered on the conflict that can arise when extended family tries to live together in the same house. As the man of the house, Gus imposed rules on the three grandchildren the same way he raised his own children but later learned ways to convey his lessons to the kids without being gruff. Jessie and the kids learn that beneath Gus' stern facade is a man who is wise about the ways of the world and cares about them very much.
In a feature reminiscent of the 1960s TV series The Wild Wild West, each act of an episode ended with a freeze frame moment, which then occupied one of the rooms in the "house" on the screen just before the commercial break. As the episode unfolded, more rooms were filled until finally, when the dilemma had been resolved, the final piece was put in place, completing the house.
|Wilford Brimley||Gus Witherspoon||1||2|
|Deidre Hall||Jesse Witherspoon||1||2|
|Shannen Doherty||Kris Witherspoon||1||2|
|Chad Allen||David Witherspoon||1||2|
|Keri Houlihan||Molly Witherspoon||1||2|
|Gerald S. O'Loughlin||Joe Kaplan||1||2|
|Season One||September 11, 1986||May 3, 1987||24|
|Season Two||September 13, 1987||May 8, 1988||22|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series