"To the Rescue" is a five-part episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers that serves as the pilot to the series, though it ironically is not the first five episodes in either production or airing order. It was instead aired as the fourteenth through eighteenth episodes of the series, though they were the first five episodes aired when the show began airing in syndication in the fall of 1989.
Chip 'n Dale tag alongside their old friend Plato the Police Dog to help his master, police detective Donald Drake (who's retiring next month), chase down a thug named Percy, who has stolen the Clutchcoin ruby necklace. They track him down to a lumber warehouse, where Chip 'n Dale manage to distract Percy with their antics and cause him to lose the ruby. Just as the good guys leave with the evidence, Percy confronts his boss, Aldrin Klordane, a crimelord who seemingly drowned a year ago and now has a much bigger plan in store. Klordane sneaks on over to the police station and sends his pet feline, Fat Cat to "make Drake's life extremely difficult." He does this by stealing the ruby, stuffing the necklace into Drake's coat, and filling it with airline tickets and gambling debts. He then catches everyone's attention by getting Plato to chase him around, and once the captain notices the ruby's gone, they find evidence that Drake has stolen it and lock up him and Plato. Chip and Dale, however, know that Drake and Plato are innocent, since they saw the whole thing, and offer to track down Klordane.
Chip and Dale find Klordane and his thugs at his old hideout, the Happy Tom Cat Food Factory. Behind his master's back, Fat Cat snatches the ruby without him noticing and, once the humans have left the room, suits up and greets his three cronies - Mepps the alley cat, Wart the lizard, and Mole the unimaginatively-named mole. He then struts his way to his casino (which happens to be in the giant novelty cat on top of the factory), telling his minions that he'll bring the ruby back to Klordane before he even notices it's missing. Chip and Dale sneak into the casino just in time to see Fat Cat singing to his patrons about how he deserves "the best of everything". During the song, Chip manages to snatch the ruby, but in his and Dale's effort to escape, they get caught, and Fat Cat has Mepps drop them off the roof.
Luckily, the chipmunks manage to slow their descent and land in a garbage box. They overhear that Fat Cat (and his minions) is going to the Chinatown laundromat, hitching a ride in a pizza delivery van that he has tricked into stopping off at the factory and the laundromat. The chipmunks give chase in a wheel, and then a rich couple's limousine. Upon reaching Chinatown, Dale can't resist surfing on a wet scrub brush; this greatly annoys Chip, who orders him to go home. Chip then proceeds to follow Fat Cat, who meets with the mysterious Siamese Twins to discuss his purchase - a master fighting fish named Juice Lee. During their discussion (and demonstration) of Juice Lee's power, Chip attempts to grab the ruby from Fat Cat with a makeshift fishing rod a few times, but when the hook grabs on to one of the twins' clothes, Chip's cover was blown, but he is saved when Dale returns surfing on the scrub brushes again. In the massacre that follows, Chip ends up getting a new fedora hat similar to Drake's (this part is strangely cut from later airings and even the DVD release), and Fat Cat and his men make their retreat as Dale pour soap out of a box, to distract the Twins and the workers by having the fish trapped inside bubbles.
Fat Cat brings Juice Lee to a large cargo boat and uses him to get rid of the nearby sailors, unaware that Chip and Dale are right behind him. There, they fall into the cargo hold, where they meet Monterey Jack and Zipper. After a brief scuffle, Monty eventually warms up to them and offers to show them his "house", a large trunk filled with his belongings. Suddenly, Fat Cat's men empty the cargo hold and dump Monty's house into the sea. The loss of his house greatly upsets Monty, and he vows to take down Fat Cat for sinking it. Fat Cat sets up a machine with which to suck great amounts of fish out of other people's boats, but the chipmunks and Monty manage to foil his plan, but end up destroying the boat's steering wheel in the process, and this causes it to go sailing right for the city.
The heroes luckily manage to slow the boat down as it nearly crashes into the city, and the chipmunks continue their pursuit of Fat Cat, with Monty and Zipper joining them in their quest, because Monty still wants to get back at Fat Cat for sinking his house. Meanwhile, as he and his men are out at sea on a makeshift raft, Fat Cat remembers he's forgotten to bring the ruby back to Klordane and orders his goons to hurry up. He makes it back to the factory and into Klordane's helicopter just in time to bring the ruby back to his master without him ever finding out that it was missing. With the ruby in his possession, Klordane heads for Glacier Bay.
The chipmunks and their companions are unable to stop the copter from taking off, and they are unable to find a flight to Glacier Bay at the airport before they have to leave due to one of Monty's "cheese attacks", an obsession with eating any cheese he smells in the area. However, Monty offers to bring them to meet a friend of his who could fly them to Glacier Bay. His friend is a pilot named Geegaw Hackwrench, whom he used to have adventures with. When they arrive at the abandoned military plane where Geegaw supposedly lives, they meet his inventive daughter, Gadget who explains that he's been gone for over a year now. She offers to fly them to Glacier Bay with her dad's old plane, the Screaming Eagle.
Upon their arrival, they end up crashing the plane because Gadget had wheels instead of skis for landing gear. She's rather upset with this, but after a pep talk from her friends, she begins to repair it, but not before providing the guys with an iceboat to go after Klordane in. Nearby, a mad scientist named Professor Norton Nimnul has been ordered by Klordane to construct a giant laser cannon powered by the ruby (otherwise, it's just "a big overgrown flashlight"). After finishing it, Nimnul uses the laser cannon to slice up the ground so Klordane's choppers can lift it into the air. Pleased with this, Klordane leaves in his copter, leaving Fat Cat behind with Nimnul. When Nimnul catches the rodents scurrying on his laser, he orders Fat Cat to take care of them, which he proceeds to do by throwing snowballs at them and knocking them off the glacier.
Luckily, Gadget comes to the rescue by way of the newly-repaired Screaming Eagle, which she has managed to redesign using some trash from Klordane's camp. Nimnul then brings the glacier to a valley just in time to greet Klordane's train. He then has the choppers chop up the glacier into snow cone material to be loaded onto the train. But the heroes show up and sneak inside the machine to snatch back the ruby. Nimnul and Fat Cat try to stop the rodents from making off with the ruby, but this time they are unsuccessful.
The next day, Klordane captures Drake (but not Plato) and brings him to see his master plan unfolding, but when Nimnul reports to him that the ruby is missing, he orders Nimnul to retrieve it, "or I'll get an elephant gun." Over at the police station, Mrs. Clutchcoin shows up to reclaim her ruby, which the rodents have returned to the police station. But Nimnul, having tracked the ruby down, sends Fat Cat inside to provide a distraction. The rodents try to stop him, but Monty's weakness after he smells cheese prevents them from doing so. With the chipmunks and Gadget out of his way, Fat Cat lathers shaving cream on Plato and stuffs Mrs. Clutchcoin's pet chihuahua into his mouth. While the cops thinks Plato's gone mad and have him sent to the pound, Nimnul grabs the ruby.
The heroes fly over to the pound, during which Chip chastises Monty for this development; Monty responds by yelling back and then jumping out of the plane, with Zipper following. At the pound, the chipmunks and Gadget meet a poodle named Frenchie and his shaggy companion Que Sera ("Sera!"), the lone members of the Pound Underground, an organization dedicated to setting innocent dogs free. With help from the PU, they find Plato's cell and grab the keys to his cell right under the Doberman guard's nose. The furious Doberman chases them out of the pound, but Monty and Zipper return in the nick of time and knock him out. Afterwards, Frenchie makes his exit, but not before giving Chip the realization that he and the others have become a team.
The team proceeds to go look for Klordane's current hideout, tracking it down using a thermometer, on the newly-made Rangermobile, with Plato coming along on roller skates. They find the subway entrance they're looking for, and Plato breaks down a wooden door blocking the way in, but it falls apart on them. Klordane and Percy come by and recognize Drake's dog.
With Plato now captured too, Klordane explains his master plan to Drake: he has smuggled the ice in from Glacier Bay, and his thugs are now piling it up under the foundation of the Federal Gold Reserve. At the same time, they're also mixing lime Jell-o, which is then poured on top of the ice, creating the world's largest gelatin dessert. Klordane, it turns out, plans to use it to trigger an earthquake that will crack the Federal Gold Reserve. He then has Nimnul do just that, sending a rainfall of golden coins and bricks to fall down into his train cars.
The protagonists, meanwhile, arrive just in time to witness Klordane's homemade earthquake and find Plato, who has been chained to Klordane's train. He tells them that they must find a way to alert the police of Klordane's whereabouts, during which he calls them Rescue Rangers for the first time. The name inspires Chip, but Fat Cat interferes before they could use a gold brick on a gellatin mold with a cage. Monty gets them out of the cage and faces Fat Cat to avenge what he did to his home. After Fat Cat knocks Monty down, Zipper saves Monty from being killed, and this distraction allows Monty to grab Fat Cat by the tail and swing him around to toss him into the gelatin mold to trigger another earthquake, this one bringing down the whole Gold Reserve building and the investigating cops within. The cops come running out, but Klordane escapes onto his train and takes off with the ruby, taking Plato with him and blocking a tunnel entrance.
Fortunately, the Rangers give chase and catch up with the train. Plato tells them that they must stop the train, and they run up to the front car and annoy Klordane as he attempts to swat them. When he tries speeding up the train, Chip and Dale manage to hit a lever that reroutes the train onto a dead end. Klordane is furious with the Rangers for ruining his plans, but before he can do away with them, Plato, having unchained himself using a blowtorch the Rangers used to catch up, comes running at him. The train goes flying out of the subway, and Klordane lands right in the police captain's office where this incident with the Rangers causes Klordane to suffer a mental breakdown and he confesses his recent crimes to the police captain. Having brought Klordane to justice, Plato is given his own police medal, which he gives to the Rangers for their work. Just when it seems the Rangers have to split up after the adventure, though, they find that a little girl has lost her puppy and decide to find him for her. The movie ends with the Rangers setting off on their new quest.
- The names of Donald Drake and Plato are obvious nods to those of Chip 'n Dale's old co-stars, Donald Duck and Pluto.
- In part one, Percy mistakes Dale for his gun and attempts to fire, prompting Dale to shout out, "Bang bang!" This is a reference to the 1954 cartoon short, The Lone Chipmunks, where the same gag occurs. Likewise, the ship in a bottle that Monterey Jack manages to save from sinking near the end of part two is reminiscent of the 1956 short, Chips Ahoy.
- The fourth member of Fat Cat's goons, Snout the Rat, does not appear in this serial. This, coupled with the fact that there are a few other episodes featuring Fat Cat without Snout, suggests that he joined the gang at a later time.
- The Ranger Plane already has the "RR" logo painted on it, before the Rangers start calling themselves the Rescue Rangers.
- Chauncey & Edgar from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle make a cameo appearance in part five.
- Corey Burton - Dale, Zipper, Snout, Mole, Sailor, Lawyer
- Peter Cullen - Monterey Jack, Officer Kirby, Officer Muldoon, Mepps, Police Captain, Sailor
- Jim Cummings - Fat Cat, Prof. Nimnul, Sgt. Spinelli, Wart, Chinese Cat, Fisherman, Guard Dog
- Tress MacNeille - Chip, Gadget, Policewoman, Siamese Twins
- Alan Oppenheimer - Plato, Aldren Klordane
- Rob Paulsen - Det. Donald Drake, Percy, Frenchy
- Maureen Schrum - Sheila
- Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Volume 2