Fred Amidon is a New York City bank teller whose wife Rachel is divorcing him. Fred already has a new fiancée, bank colleague Pamela Anders, with whom he is about to embark on a vacation.
While on a picnic in the park, Fred is stung on the chin by a bee. Because it hurts him to shave, Fred lets a full beard grow. He returns to work from vacation and is surprised when his boss orders him to shave. Pamela doesn’t care for the beard, either, but Fred is tired of always conforming to everyone else’s desires and demands. He refuses and is fired.
Colleagues come to Fred’s defense. The male ones grow beards in support. Co-workers go on strike and carry picket signs outside the bank, soon joined by hippies and jazz musicians with beards. Fred becomes an overnight media sensation.
Rachel likes the new Fred’s backbone and fortitude. Pamela does not. She drugs his wine and has her brothers shave him. Fred wakes up with their work half-finished. He flees on foot, wearing half a beard and nothing else but underwear and shoes. Police arrest him and place him in a psychiatric ward. Rachel rescues him, they reconcile and Fred shaves the beard, which he never intended to keep.