Ivy (Abbey Lincoln), the Austin family's housekeeper and confidante for nine years, startles everyone by announcing that she is leaving to go to secretarial school and join life's mainstream. The family is devastated, especially Tim (Beau Bridges). They feel that Ivy's frustrations stem from the lack of a man in her life and decide to play matchmakers. The Austins find a debonair man-about-town (Sidney Poitier) and trick him into a love affair with Ivy. But things don't work out exactly as they planned.