Nan Masters, a single mother living with her four marriageable daughters, plans to marry Sam Sloane, businessman. Out of the blue her 1st husband Jim returns after deserting the family 20 years earlier. The worldly wanderer Jim gets a cool family reception at first but his warm personality gradually wins the affections of his four daughters. In fact, youngest daughter Buff, who has her eye on a maverick of her own in Gabriel Lopez, is pleased when Jim grants his stamp of approval on her relationship. Buff plans to elope with Gabriel on her mother's wedding day, but 'unpredictable' is Gabriel's middle name.
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As they have done for many years, San Francisco based fashion designer Nan Masters, her four, single, young adult daughters, Cora, Tinka, Linda and Buff, and their faithful longtime housekeeper Penny are spending the summer in Carmel, renting a seaside house of local businessman Sam Sloane. All the daughters are at various stages of courtship with a local, with the focus of the summer being Buff's aspiring playwright boyfriend Johnny Heming mounting a community theater production of his latest with a small part for aspiring actress Cora. While some of the daughters may believe they are on the brink of walking down the aisle, it is Nan who makes the surprise announcement that she plans imminently to marry self-described "boring" and "pedantic" Sam - only with her daughters' blessing, which they do provide - Sam the antithesis of the girls' father, the charming and outgoing Jim Masters, who abandoned the family twenty years ago in his wanderlust and who the girls don't really remember beyond the emotional pain his desertion has caused Nan over the years. On this very same day that the Masters welcome Sam into their family seated at the head of the table for dinner, who makes a surprise, unannounced appearance is Jim, he, unspoken, wanting to reassume his place in the family after twenty years of traveling the world. While the girls want to dislike their father, they may be captivated by that same charm that won Nan over when they were courting and regardless of the fact that they would still like to see their mother marry Sam. Jim doesn't seem to be the family's only issue as Buff too is captivated by the excitement upon first meeting with Gabriel Lopez, a local scammer, who, beneath those scams, none truly criminal but bordering on being immoral, admits that he embarks on such to be able to escape his life to visit places of which he is only able to dream. As such, Buff may follow in her mother's footsteps, and not in a way that Nan wants despite not seeing Gabriel as overall a bad sort, but someone who may provide Buff grief in the long run.
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