Brock, with a map in hand, guides Ash and Misty through the Ilex Forest. The group soon comes across a boy commanding his Farfetch'd to use "cutting attack", but Farfetch'd disregards its Trainer completely. Ash steps in and informs the boy that "Cut attack" is the correct name. The embarrassed boy then tells Farfetch'd to use "Cut", but even so, Farfetch'd refuses to obey. The boy, who introduces himself as Sylvester, explains that he is a beginning Trainer and sometimes has trouble remembering the names of attacks. He wants to be able to make "purifying charcoal" like his father does. Brock explains to Ash and Misty that purifying charcoal is burnt wood used for fuel that can also purify water and air. The Ilex Forest is world-famous for its purified charcoal; in fact, Brock even uses it for a recipe he calls "Brock's Rockin' Rice". Sylvester says that he needs to teach Farfetch'd how to cut wood into perfect blocks. Farfetch'd, however, doesn't look happy to be working with Sylvester. It appears to think very little of its Trainer. Ash can empathize with Sylvester and admits that he and Pikachu initially struggled to work together before they became best friends. Sylvester and Farfetch'd are persuaded by Ash's words to try again.
At the local Pokémon Center, Ash reports to Professor Oak that he has safely delivered the GS Ball to Kurt in Azalea Town. Ash also tells Oak of his Lure Ball, which he received from Kurt as a gift, and his Hive Badge, which he won from Bugsy, the Gym Leader. Ash's Muk, Kingler, Snorlax, and Tauros squeeze into the screen to wish Ash luck and the video call ends. Ash then sits down with his friends and learns that Goldenrod City is the location of the next Gym. Suddenly, Sylvester runs into the Center and asks Nurse Joy if she has seen his Farfetch'd; apparently, it has run away after Sylvester forgot a few attack names again. Nurse Joy suggests looking for Farfetch'd at his father's house, since Farfetch'd went there the previous time it ran away. Ash cheers up the despondent Sylvester by volunteering to accompany him to his house, and to search the forest if Farfetch'd cannot be found there.
At Sylvester's house, his father Yosaku works alongside his Magmar at a hearth to make purifying charcoal. Yosaku receives the news that Farfetch'd has run away again and begins berating his son for being such a bad Trainer. Ash, feeling sorry for Sylvester, steps in and tells Yosaku that his son is trying his best and should not be pushed so hard. Sylvester's father is not impressed; he orders his son and his new friends out into the forest to look for Farfetch'd. Meanwhile, as Team Rocket continues to trudge through the forest, Meowth suddenly smells food and leads his teammates to a forest shrine with some offerings. Jessie and Meowth eat the buns before James can get a bite. Then, Farfetch'd walks out from behind a bush, unaware of Team Rocket. The trio corners the valuable Pokémon and decides to capture and sell it, using the money to buy lots of food.
Elsewhere, Ash and the others soon reach the forest shrine and try to call out to Farfetch'd, to no avail. They decide to use all of their Pokémon, minus Misty's Goldeen and Staryu, to search for Farfetch'd. Brock, however, is forced to recall his Pineco before it Self-Destructs. Though Sylvester is concerned by Ash's Pokémon who seem to be too preoccupied to help with the search. Just as Misty is about to scold Ash for his misbehaving Pokémon, she spots her Psyduck fast asleep on Poliwag's tail. The Pokémon manage to organize themselves and the group agrees to meet back at the shrine within the next hour before splitting off to search for Farfetch'd.
Meanwhile, Farfetch'd momentarily evades Team Rocket by flying up on a tree branch, cutting several smaller branches with its leek, and causing them to fall on Team Rocket's heads. Jessie tosses Meowth upwards in frustration, but Farfetch'd easily hits him on the head, sending Meowth back down on Jessie's own head. Jessie then sends out her Arbok and Lickitung; Farfetch'd blocks Arbok's Poison Sting with its leek. Arbok dives for the leek, but misses. Finally, Lickitung uses its giant tongue to grab the leek before Jessie snatches the leek from it. Without its leek, Farfetch'd tries to run away, but Meowth captures it with a lasso. With Farfetch'd now secured in a net, James tries to eat the leek, but Jessie swipes it away and Meowth reminds him that the leek will make Farfetch'd complete, meaning more money could be made.
Heracross spots Team Rocket with Farfetch'd and reports back to Ash. Having been discovered, Team Rocket performs their motto for Ash and Sylvester. Jessie sends out Arbok and Lickitung while Meowth kicks at Sylvester, allowing the trio to make a run for it. However, Bulbasaur and Chikorita use Razor Leaf to cut the bag, freeing Farfetch'd. Before it can fly back to Sylvester, though, Farfetch'd is grabbed by Lickitung. James sends out his Weezing and Victreebel, and orders the former to fire Sludge at Ash and his Pokémon, immobilizing them. As Arbok's Poison Sting heads straight for the helpless group, Brock's Onix erupts out of the ground and blocks the attack. Brock and Misty hurry towards them with their Pokémon, and Misty has Poliwag wash away the Sludge attack with its Water Gun. Weezing and Victreebel then use Smokescreen and Razor Leaf respectively, but Ash orders Squirtle to use Hydro Pump to blow away Weezing's smoke. While Ash's Pokémon attack together, Sylvester expresses his wish to work with Farfetch'd the way Ash works with his Pokémon. Brock explains that Ash's team acts with one mind. Heracross Tackles Team Rocket, sending the leek spinning up in the air. Jessie and Sylvester both dive for it, and Sylvester grabs it. This causes Farfetch'd to realize that he isn't such a bad Trainer after all. Sylvester promptly throws the leek to Farfetch'd, who goes onto free itself from Lickitung's grasp with a powerful Peck. In a last-ditch attempt, Team Rocket dives toward Farfetch'd, but Sylvester orders Farfetch'd to use Fury Attack, which leaves Team Rocket completely worn out. Before they can run far, Farfetch'd uses Cut to down two big trees in front of Team Rocket's path. Then, Ash has Pikachu use Thunderbolt, sending Team Rocket blasting off.
Ash congratulates Sylvester for getting Farfetch'd to use Cut, and Misty and Brock comment on how well the pair worked as a team. Encouraged by Ash and the gang, Sylvester asks Farfetch'd to cut one of the trees into blocks for charcoal. After pausing to orient itself, like a true Cutting master, Farfetch'd executes a series of slashes, creating several perfectly-shaped blocks of wood. Later, Sylvester's father admits that he is proud of his son's growth. Yosaku also gives Ash and his friends some charcoal as a show of his gratitude. The group says their goodbyes before setting off for Goldenrod City.