As Ash, Misty, and Brock continue traveling with Todd in search of the Legendary Pokémon Articuno, they see a large mountain in the distance and decide that it's the perfect place to find Articuno. They decide to stop for lunch and sit on top of a rock, eating rice balls. A Swinub nearby sees the rice ball that Misty is holding and charges towards it, causing Misty to drop her rice ball. The group watches as the Swinub enjoys the rice ball, and two more Swinub join it. Todd takes pictures of the three Swinub eating the rice ball as Ash looks up Swinub on his Pokédex.
A girl appears, telling the Swinub to stop stealing food from strangers. She apologizes to the group and scolds the Swinub, calling them Su, Ein, and Ub in the process. She introduces herself to the group as Peggy and reveals that the Swinub belong to her father. Peggy brings the group to her father, Rory, who is a professional hot spring digger. The company he works for assigned him to find a hot spring in the area so that they could build a resort there, but he hasn't been able to find any hot springs in the area for months. Rory reveals that Su, Ein, and Ub help him find hot springs by using their keen sense of smell to sniff out hot, steamy water from the ground. Just then, the Swinub seem to have found a hot spring, as they are circling around a certain area of ground. Rory sends out his Graveler and has it dig through the ground, while Todd takes pictures of the moment. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is hiding nearby and watching the group. Jessie fantasizes about the hot springs and decides that they are going to find a hot spring. She says that they will help the group find a hot spring, and that all the hot springs will eventually belong to her.
Rory expresses his disappointment, as the hole they dug up ends up not being a hot spring. Rory tells the Swinub not to worry and gives them food. Jessie and James, disguised as construction workers, approach Rory, introducing themselves as workers that the resort company sent to help him out. Ash and his friends decide to help Rory out, as well. Everyone digs through various areas, but all are dry and have no hot springs. Jessie and James decide to try another area and ask Rory if they can borrow his Swinub and Graveler, which he agrees to. James manages to catch the Swinub in a bag, while Jessie leaves Graveler behind due to it being too heavy to carry or drag. Peggy goes around looking for Su, Ein, and Ub and finds James struggling to keep the Swinub inside the bag. Peggy calls out to the rest of the group, and Rory asks who Jessie and James really are. Jessie and James recite their motto, revealing themselves. At the end of the motto, Meowth appears in a sled, and Jessie and James jump into it. Ash, Brock, and Rory run after them but fall into a pitfall trap.
Ash sees a few boxes outside the house and comes up with an idea to use them to chase after Team Rocket. The group quickly catches up to Team Rocket, but Meowth pours some "Super Slippy Oil" onto the ground, slipping them up. Team Rocket goes through a small cave, and when they crash onto the ground, Meowth accidentally drops the container. The group makes it through the cave but lands in a large puddle of the oil, and they all go spinning off into different directions. While Todd is spinning around, he spots Articuno flying through the sky. He takes out his camera to take a picture of it, but when he finally stops spinning, Articuno is nowhere to be seen.
The Swinub circle around a certain area, and James and Meowth dig a hole in the area. James hits a certain spot, causing oil to burst out of the ground. Jessie and Meowth mourn the fact that they didn't find a hot spring when they realize that they found an oil well. However, James realizes that they've punched a hole in a company's pipeline, and Team Rocket runs away so that they won't get caught and go to jail. Noctowl watches them run away and goes back to the group, informing them of the direction Team Rocket went. The group catches up to Team Rocket and Ash sends out Totodile while Misty sends out Poliwhirl and Rory sends out Graveler. Jessie and James send out Arbok and Victreebel, respectively. Totodile and Poliwhirl keep Arbok and Victreebel occupied while Graveler moves to grab the Swinub back. Meowth jumps in front of the bag holding the Swinub, but Graveler quickly knocks him out with Tackle. Rory unties the bag, freeing the Swinub. James sends out his Weezing and Jessie's Wobbuffet pops out of its own Poké Ball, so Team Rocket has all of their Pokémon out.
Ash is about to battle, but the Swinub suddenly appear to be extremely angry. Rory realizes that the Swinub want to take care of Team Rocket. One of the Swinub charges towards Arbok, who uses Wrap on it. Ein uses Take Down on Arbok, freeing the other Swinub. Jessie commands Arbok to use a Fang Attack, which the two Swinub dodge. Ub uses Tackle on Wobbuffet, who counters it with Counter. Todd is fascinated by the battle and takes various pictures, when Jessie suddenly appears in front of him and makes various poses, causing Todd to walk away. Jessie brags about her modeling career to James when they realize that the battle is still going on. James has Weezing use Smokescreen, but Poliwhirl blows it away with Bubble. Rory has Su, Ein, and Ub use Powder Snow, which freezes all of Team Rocket's Pokémon. The Swinub then use Tackle on them, and Totodile and Poliwhirl use Water Gun, blasting Team Rocket off.
Peggy thanks Ash and his friends for helping them save the Swinub, and Ash compliments the Swinub. Suddenly, the Swinub sniff a certain area of the ground and jump up in excitement. They jump around that area in a circle, and Graveler digs through it. Everyone watches in anticipation, when Graveler makes its way out of the hole. The ground shakes, and water comes bursting out of the ground. Rory, Peggy, and the Swinub celebrate their achievement, and Todd snaps a picture of the moment.
Ash and his friends bid farewell to Rory, Peggy, the Swinub, and Graveler. The episode ends as the group heads towards the mountain in search for Articuno.