It was notably the only episode of the show's first season to have its animation produced by another studio other than TMS Entertainment; the animation was produced by Burbank Films in the Philippines, with supervision by Richard Trueblood and Roz Phillips.
After spending the day visiting various businesses to see how they are performing, Scrooge McDuck has his butler, Duckworth, chauffeur him back to his manor so that he can watch his favorite TV show, Lifestyles of the Filthy Rich. At the end of that night's episode, the show's host, Robin Lurch, announces that Scrooge is going to be visited by the show next week. Just as the family are celebrating this exciting news, a conniving fox named Fritter O'Way steps in and tells Scrooge that he holds the contract giving him ownership of the mansion. He points Scrooge to a model of the Golden Goose, a ship owned by his ancestor Seafoam McDuck. Fritter's ancestor, Diddle O'Way, charged Seafoam with delivering a barrel of marbles to the Cape of No Hope. Seafoam accepted the offer, but as he headed for the cape, a terrible hurricane struck the Golden Goose, causing Diddle's marbles to sink with the ship. With the marbles gone, Diddle said that Seafoam owed him all his property. Seafoam stated that everything he had was sunk except for his golden watch, which he was then forced to hand over. With that incident explained, Fritter concludes that as Seafoam's last surviving direct relative, Scrooge is responsible for his death and must hand over the watch―which Scrooge states is not in his possession, as he used it to buy his claim in the Klondike, where he made his fortune. This means that all of Scrooge's money and possessions really belong to the O'Way clan, and that if Scrooge wants to stay any longer, he must work for Fritter. Left with no alternative, Scrooge surrenders the deed to his mansion.
Scrooge notices Duckworth painting the mansion walls, and Mrs. Beakley inflating weather balloons into furniture, per a redecorating plan devised by Fritter. Upon spotting Fritter's henchmen destroying furniture that had been in the McDuck mansion, Scrooge fires them as if they were his own employees before realizing that they do not work for him. After that, he finds Fritter himself throwing numerous antiques out of the mansion, mocking Scrooge as he does so and even dumping out the contents of a suitcase he happens to be toting with him. Eventually, Fritter has completed his redecorating of what was once "McDuck Manor", turning it into a circus; i.e., giving it flashy orange paint, colorful pennants, and roof lighting. Scrooge is evicted from the property, causing Mrs. Beakley, Duckworth, and the nephews to announce resignation from Fritter's employ.
Fritter sends his trucks to empty The Money Bin, essentially costing Scrooge his entire fortune. Scrooge tells the nephews that he is going to try finding a job as a means of showing Fritter what he is capable of, but everyone he meets mocks and mistreats him. Thus, as he prepares to search for shelter, Scrooge worries that even close friends like Launchpad McQuack and Gyro Gearloose will now turn against him. When the time comes for Lifestyles of the Filthy Rich to cover Scrooge, Lurch and the show's crew find his entire family sent to the poorhouse. Faced with this, Scrooge ends up having a terrible nightmare about everyone mistreating him because of his poverty. He asks for help, and tries even robbing Salvation Mary's donation kettle just so he can have money again.
Now Scrooge is fed up with living the lifestyle of the poor and pathetic. The nephews, remembering the story Fritter had told their uncle, believe that he could get his fortune back if he found and delivered Diddle's marbles. So Scrooge calls upon a seafarer named Captain Jack to send him a boat so that he can venture into the Cape of No Hope to reclaim the marbles. He dives down into the cape to search for the barrel, but the nephews learn that the waters are shark infested and decide to warn Scrooge. Just as he has spotted the barrel containing the marbles, Mrs. Beakley, who at high school age was a champion at swimming, decides to rescue him. Fritter learns from a radio broadcast that Scrooge is now lost at sea off the Cape of No Hope, concludes that he must be after the marbles, and decides to confront Scrooge himself.
Fritter sails onto the scene in a yacht that had belonged to Scrooge and fires his gun at Captain Jack's boat, sinking it. Then a tidal wave sweeps in and tosses Fritter off the yacht and into the ocean. Scrooge delivers the marbles to Fritter, but he refuses to accept them; another wave splashes over him, and he is forced to change his mind and sign an official delivery notice. Back in Duckburg, the next broadcast of Lifestyles of the Filthy Rich airs, focusing on Scrooge. He uses his money to help Salvation Mary to feed the poor; although she initially rejects the thousand-dollar bill he offers her, he throws it into her kettle anyway and she thanks him. Scrooge also helps Captain Jack by giving him a new yacht, and reveals that he tries to abide by the real golden rule. By the end of the episode, Fritter has been punished for his nasty deeds and is being forced to undo the paint job he had given the mansion.
- DuckTales: Volume 1
- The episode's title is a reference to the 1986 Touchstone Pictures comedy film, Down and Out in Beverly Hills.