Lodge members Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy take a solemn oath to attend the 80th-annual Sons of the Desert Convention (read: annual binge) in Chicago. That is, Ollie takes the oath, but Stanley balks. When asked why, Stanley answers that he's afraid his wife won't let him go. Ollie is appalled: "Every man must be king in his own castle." But when Ollie meekly brings up the subject of the convention with his wife Lollie (Mae Busch), she soon dethrones the "king." Lollie wants to take a vacation in the mountains, and is dead-set against her husband going around "with a pack of hooligans." But Ollie is determined to attend the convention, and to that end cooks up a scheme with Stanley. Ollie will pretend to be deathly ill; Stan will fix it so the doctor will prescribe a trip to Honolulu. Knowing that his wife can't stand going on sea voyages, Ollie will request that Stan accompany him to Hawaii--then, both men will sneak off to Chicago. A few hitches notwithstanding (Stan hires a veterinarian instead of a doctor, explaining that he didn't think the man's religion would make any difference), the boys go to the convention, where they cut up royally with practical joker Charley Chase. Alas, the Honolulu-bound boat on which Stan and Ollie are supposed to be travelling is sunk in a typhoon. While the grief-stricken wives are at the steamship company attempting to find out if their husbands survived the sea disaster, Stan and Ollie arrive home, wearing leis and carrying pineapples as "evidence" of their Honolulu vacation. When the boys find out about the shipwreck, they desperately try to escape to a hotel, but the wives arrive home prematurely, forcing Stan and Ollie to camp out in the attic. It looks as though the boys might just get away with their new plan of coming home at the same time that the rescue boats arrive....until Lollie Hardy and Betty Laurel (Dorothy Christie), attending a picture show, are treated to the spectacle of their husbands cavorting merrily before the newsreel cameras covering the Sons of the Desert conclave in Chicago. The film's final ten minutes are priceless--especially that bit about "ship-hiking." Considered the best of Laurel and Hardy's feature films, One of the top ten moneymaking pictures of 1934, it was released in Europe as Fraternally Yours and Sons of the Legion, and is also available in a crudely edited 20-minute TV version, Fun on the Run.
by Hal Erickson synopsis