A small-town sheriff’s department deals with a series of interconnected crimes.
The girl of his dreams whom Deputy Dalton Pettigrew has traveled to Tulsa to meet turns out to be a man. Awakening in an alley sans pants and wallet, he lands in jail, too embarrassed to disclose his identity. When he calls his depressed sister Mary Ellen to spring him, she leaves Eli, her middle child, in the care of psychiatrist Jean MacDonnell, the wife of Prophesy County Sheriff Milt Kovak. But trouble looms in the person of Dr. Emil Hawthorne, who’s awakened from a long coma with a keen remembrance of Jean’s turning him in for having sex with his patients. His plan for revenge is to kidnap Jean’s son, Johnny Mac, with the help of Holly Humphries, who thinks she’s starring in a film he’s making. Instead, however, he mistakenly snatches Eli. Realizing at last that the kidnapping is for real, Holly manages to escape with Eli, but they get lost in the woods. There they encounter Dalton, who’s been equally lost since Mary Ellen left him asleep in her car while she attempted suicide. Unwilling to be left out, Dalton’s controlling mother is harassing Milt over her missing son and grandchild. Though all the lost are eventually found safe, Hawthorne is shot dead, leaving it up to Milt and Jean to uncover clues from the past and identify the guilty party.
A surprise ending caps this unusually amusing entry in Milt’s ebullient series (Shotgun Wedding, 2009, etc.).