Homer goes to Sprawl-Mart, and he buys Marge a "Kitchen Carnival", a machine that produces cotton candy, caramel and deep fried things. Eventually Homer uses it to make a giant ball of deep-fried, caramel-covered, cotton candy. When it becomes too dirty and inedible, Marge orders him to take it to the dump. While there, he is confronted by a large grizzly bear, from which he cowers. The bear eventually wanders off without attacking, annoyed by Homer's tearful cowering. The incident becomes well known due to a nearby hunter with a camera.
Homer becomes a nervous wreck, hallucinating and seeing bears like Winnie the Pooh, Baloo, Paddington Bear, Smokey Bear, the Snuggle Bear, Rupert Bear, Teddy Grahams, Fozzie Bear, the Chicago Bears, Yogi Bear, and an "Intensive Care Bear." To make things worse, the hunter's tape is shown on the news, and Homer is mocked by many. Homer hires the hunter, named Grant, to assist him in confronting the animal. Homer makes a near-useless suit of armor: despite Marge's objections, Bart, Lenny and Carl join him as they start on their quest.
The four of them make camp in the woods. As his homemade armor is hot, Homer eventually takes it off and bathes in a stream, where he is again attacked by the bear. With Bart, Lenny and Carl dancing to the radio and paying no attention, the bear drags Homer to his cave. Deciding to die facing the bear as a man, Homer later discovers that the bear is only angry and hostile because of the painful electrical prod that Grant attached to the bear's ear. To make sure of it, Homer takes the tag off the bear and tries it on himself, resulting in a lot of pain before taking it off. Because of being freed from the electrical prod, the bear reverts to its friendly state, licking Homer and giving him a bear hug as a thanks.
Realizing this, Homer becomes friends with the bear. In the meantime, Marge and Lisa have discovered Homer, Bart, and the suit of armor missing, and Marge hires Grant to help track Homer down, though Lisa disapproves of Grant's methods to take down the bear. Homer decides to take the bear to a nearby wildlife refuge, but on the way, they are attacked by Grant and other hunters. To ensure the bear's survival, Homer dresses the bear up in the homemade armor, which surprisingly resists the gunfire and allows the bear to reach the wildlife refuge where it is promptly attacked by Stampy the elephant, but then fights back against him for good. It is then the whole family declares to be proud of Homer for his efforts of saving the bear from the hunters, to which he responds that he loves nature.