Returns for its third season with a special one-hour event on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 on the ABC Television Network. In the first part of the hour, entitled "Dude Ranch", our favorite family decide to don their cow boots and hats and head to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for some fun and adventure in the great outdoors. While vacationing on Lost Creek Ranch, they try their hands at a little cattle herding, skeet shooting and horseback riding; there are also some big firsts, a huge surprise and an actual face off between Jay and a foe - a cowboy named Hank! In the second half of the hour, entitled "When Good Kids Go Bad", Mitch and Cam plan a nice evening with the whole family to break the happy news that they're looking to adopt another child. However their parade is rained on when they realize Lily may not take well to another baby in the house. Meanwhile, Claire and Jay are each consumed with proving a certain point.
Mitchell and Cameron plan to break the news of adopting another child, though this revelation may not sit well with Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).
The growing bond between man, Jay, and dog, Stella, is grating on Gloria's nerves; Phil and Luke embark on a new adventure involving a tightrope, but it's Claire with the missteps, as she tries to teach the girls a life lesson; and Cameron chooses the most inopportune time to start a juice fast.
Everyone sets their eyes on a goal: Jay is determined to help Manny sell wrapping paper for a school fundraiser; Claire petitions the city for a stop sign to be installed at a high-traffic intersection; Mitchell is hell bent on proving a point with Cameron, and neither one of them will back down; Phil and Luke will stop at nothing to create a viral video sensation; and Gloria is desperate to find Stella after losing him.
Jay is frustrated at work, Manny is stressed out about school work, Gloria would like to help but no one seems to want it. Phil and Claire run into Councilman Duane Bailey again, who is out campaigning for his second run, and he's just as irritating as they remembered -- so much so that Claire may give him a run for his money. Mitch and Cam get into a fender bender and the other car flees, which becomes the tipping point for all the men in the family who decides to take out their frustrations on the kid giving Haley problems.
It's father-daughter time, as Phil takes Haley on a college tour of his old alma mater, and Claire, having a rare night alone, forces Mitchell and Cameron to take her for a fun night out with the boys -- but ends up alone with one particular man candy who is anything but gay. Meanwhile, Gloria and Jay deal with a potential situation at home that may require having "the talk" with Manny.
Hanging out with Shorty and his girlfriend, Darlene, makes Gloria envious of how much those two do as a couple, so she gives Jay an ultimatum to step it up for a night of salsa dancing or else. Meanwhile, Cameron take a bet a little too far when Mitchell and Crispin challenge him to get a hot girl's number at the bar, and Phil builds a tree house for Luke, but ends up being the one to make a new friend.
After a neighbor's home burns down, the whole family rallies and organizes a community drive to help do some good - though it's not all good, as Jay throws out his back, Cameron does some posturing with a huge moving truck, Claire discovers that Mitchell and Gloria have been spending a lot of time together, and Luke and Manny get their hands on some of the donated toys.
When an old neighborhood kid returns to town as a hugely successful internet billionaire, it gets Phil thinking of what could have been. Jay feels Manny could use a little dose of constructive criticism, and Cameron is offended when Mitchell questions the authenticity of his colorful childhood stories. It all comes to a head at Thanksgiving with the family divided between the "Dreamers" and the "Pritchetts" -- and nothing settles the score like a punkin chunkin challenge -- .
The family is gathered at Jay and Gloria's pool on a sunny December day, and that's where they realize that everyone will be scattered this coming Christmas, so if they want to celebrate together, then it will have to be today! Everyone sets off with their respective duties for Express Christmas - Mitchell, Alex and Lily get the tree, Jay and Cameron are in charge of gift wrapping, Phil and Manny get the groceries, Gloria and Luke go retrieve the ornaments, and Claire and Haley shop for all the gifts. When they all return in the evening, it's quite a sight.
After having a doctor's visit but then missing the call with the test results, Phil automatically jumps to conclusions and starts saying his goodbyes. Meanwhile Javier pops up unannounced again and takes Manny to the horse races for a belated birthday celebration, and a subtle competition ensues when Mitchell brings home an environmental law award and it becomes a game of who has the bigger trophy.
Luke and Manny have a big school project to design the best capsule that would protect an egg in a two-story drop, but when Claire and Jay catch wind of it, their own competitive drives kick in... and eventually take over. Meanwhile, Phil solicits the help of Haley and Gloria to sit as plants in the audience during a huge real estate presentation he has put together, and Mitch and Cam meet with prospective birth mothers and must try their very best to be charming and likeable.
The family helps Claire prepare for her upcoming televised debate with Duane Bailey for the town council seat, but will they do more harm than good? Lily is going to be a precious flower girl for the first time, but the problem is she's just discovered her first expletive and Mitch and Cam don't know how best to deal with this new parenting test. And Jay is very concerned with Stella's recent strange behavior and puts the blame on Gloria.
Phil is so preoccupied with impressing his new business partner, Tad, that he doesn't notice what Claire believes is Tad being overtly inappropriate with her. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria let Mitchell and Cameron stay over while their house is fumigated, and it turns out four is a crowd.
After closing on the sale of a house to Mitch and Cam's friends, Phil and Claire take the two of them out for a celebratory dinner where they proceed to over-indulge in drinks, which leads to some over-sharing, and finally results in waking up the next morning hung over and begging the question - if you'll do anything for family, shouldn't there still be a line drawn somewhere?
It's a day of disturbing realizations when Mitchell manages to ruin one of Jay's proudest golf moments, Phil overhears something that may forever change how he sees his little girl, and Gloria stumbles upon Claire's dangerous little secret.
Cameron's birthday falls on Leap Day, and with opportunities to celebrate so few and far between, the pressure for Mitchell to get it right is exceptional. Meanwhile, Jay's machismo is in question, and Phil's plans to observe the Leap Day holiday with the boys is thwarted by the girls.
The funeral service for a beloved clown mentor reunites Cameron with his estranged ex-clown partner, Lewis ; Phil is serious about landing a very important listing, only to get trumped by a notorious bulldozer of an agent, Verna Roth ; and Manny has a cool new friend, which makes both Jay and Gloria suspicious.
Claire's race for town council comes to a head on Election Day as the Dunphys make phone calls for votes and Mitchell and Cameron take to the streets to campaign, while the candidate endures technical problems during some last-minute interviews.
Claire delicately helps Luke cope with the fact that his friend and their old neighbor, Walt, has passed. Phil takes Alex for some father-daughter bonding time, and Haley throws an unauthorized party. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria go over to Mitch and Cam's to have dinner with Cam's father, Merle, who is in town visiting -- and awkwardness and tension seem to be the rule of the night.
The Dunphys are in the market for a new car and Phil makes a spontaneous purchase without Claire. Will he have buyer's remorse? Meanwhile, Jay is determined to get to his high school reunion with Gloria and Manny in tow, and Lily loses her favorite stuffed animal on a public metro train, leaving Mitch and Cam with an inconsolable toddler.
Nothing is more quintessential to good ol' family fun than a trip to Disneyland -- but not without a side of motion sickness, achy feet and a wayward toddler -- when the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan hits the park! Phil tries to keep up with Luke, Claire's shocked when they run into Dylan, Jay and Gloria disagree about what are sensible shoes for the day, and Mitch and Cam must contain Lily's new affinity for running.
It seems everyone has a bone to pick: Jay and Gloria get on each other's nerves while trying to simply order lunch at their local diner; Phil is put in the position of having to fire Mitchell; Cam and Claire have opposing theories on how to discipline children; and Manny is upset with Luke for accepting an award under false pretenses - all of which spells trouble for Alex who is counting on them to all work together for a "living art" school project display.
It's been an up-and-down emotional roller coaster for Mitch and Cam in their quest to adopt another child. Their latest ride has them bringing Gloria in tow as a translator, leaving Jay and Manny to look after Lily, who has a big dance recital coming up. Meanwhile Claire and Phil have a proud parenting moment when they send Alex off to her first prom, but then that is quickly marred with Haley's shocking news of her future plans.