Pee Wee has gotten a part in a play - he needed only be on stage for one minute and pretend to brand a horse. The gig goes perfectly, and impressed his parents and his Scout troop. He gets letters from both Aunt Sophia and the Humane Committee, praising him for being kind to animals. He writes them back, which conjures up images of a taller, broader young man in the minds of the girls.
He took the train to meet the committee, and upon seeing him the girls were less than impressed, but got to like him after talking to him, and tell him he'll be on stage at their meeting that night.
That same Saturday Pee Wee's troop was to go to Temple Camp. Just as two of his patrol members arrive in town, the meeting starts at the church. Pee-Wee is nervous especially because, as far as he knows, he is the only boy in the place.
Artie and Grove show up and announce to the crowd that Pee Wee had branded a horse, and had a picture to prove it. Pee Wee's silence seemed to confirm his guilt, while he was only keeping his promise not to tell Sophia about his performance.
After the weekend the three Scouts hike to Temple Camp. The two talk to Pee Wee about starting a patrol. Artie writes Billy Sampson a letter saying that he'd be welcome to join the troop.
Billy is welcomed and Pee Wee officially names the new patrol the "Hop Toads" at Temple Camp's opening ceremony.
Two young scouts join the Toads. While they much admired Pee Wee, he had hoped for more recruits. His next inspiration is "sea scouting."
The Camp comes to see the new patrol off. The Scouts puzzle over what Pee Wee meant in his shouting at them as they set off.
Pee Wee tells how the camp chef offered 3 helpings of dessert to anyone who could hike around the lake within 60 minutes. He writes a letter to this effect with an onion and puts it in a corked bottle.
The trip to Goldenrod Cove had caused some damage, but they happily made it. They threw the corked bottle into the water.
Billy got the letter and he and Brent paddle to the camp. Billy reminds him of good turns, and Billy tells him how he will not weaken. They arrive at the camp to much fanfare.
Billy is inspired to great scout achievements, but laments his shyness. He brings the letter that Pee Wee had written and sees that it said that the cove is bridged and that it was possible to hike all around the lake. The scouts do not readily believe it.
Billy sees an announcement about a canoeing contest, and then comes across Bennett. He observes that Bennett is skillful, albeit inefficient, at canoeing. When Bennett said he needed someone in the canoe to steady it during a race, Billy gets up the courage to ask if he could do it. The next day the scouts gather to jolly Pee Wee, and come across the signs he made with his new patrol. They found that the bridge and float were indeed real, but tickets to cross their float were five cents. They all scrounged up what money they had, and made it across.
They push the float off but are soon marooned. Not only that but they could see the cooking shack from where they were, and imagined that it was almost dinner time, and they were hungry. Eventually some scouts rowed out to get them, and they got back to camp safely but to much ribbing.
Brent Gaylong gets Pee Wee to admit that he misses being in his old patrol. Brent gets Billy to share that he feels shy in small groups because he can't forget himself. (He could row in front of a thousand but not a dozen). He tries to get Billy to let Pee Wee keep his position as ballast, but nothing doing. Perhaps, Brent said, that would be a medium sized good turn, while for instance giving up his spot in the patrol for Pee Wee would be a big one. Billy fears he lost a little respect from his only real friend.
Word got around and what Billy feared was not only true of Brent but of the whole camp. The troop prepared for the races. Mary Temple came from Bridgeboro (after all, the Cup was named in her honor, and all the more they all wanted the Cup to return to the Bridgeboro troop).
The marquee race saw Connie Bennett against a red-headed kid from the midwest. When Connie gets winded, Billy takes over, and their canoe wins.
Billy writes a note, saying that the cup is safe until next summer. He then does his big good turn by giving up his spot in the patrol for Pee Wee. The whole episode had seemed to him like "a wonderful dream."