A story is told through pictures on a medieval style scroll: The Flanders clan captures the Simpsons' couch and the Simpson clan crosses the open waters to do battle with the Flanders and take back their couch. The family rests triumphantly on their couch as Ned Flanders lays dismembered on the floor before them. This is an allusion to the Bayeux Tapestry, a 50 cm by 70 m embroidered cloth which explains the events leading up to the 1066 Norman invasion of England.
Homer and Bart go out to Shelbyville to refill their bean bag chairs, and they see Martin plowing fields for the 4-H club. When Homer realizes no parent participation is involved he signs Bart up immediately. When Bart joins 4-H, there is a contest to raise a cow, and at the end of the summer the best cow wins a ribbon. Bart is left with the runt, and is totally unaware of how to raise a cow, but with the help of Mary, one of Cletus's kids, they name him Lou, and raise him to be very big. Eventually Lou wins the contest, but Bart doesn't realize all that means is he'll get slaughtered first. When he is told he is very upset. Lisa sees Bart's affection for Lou, and tries to trick him into being a vegetarian by playing mooing sounds on a CD. However it doesn't work, and instead she helps him steal Lou. Because Bart can't take care of Lou, he gives Lou to Mary, but her father tells Bart that to them, a cow it is a token of marriage. So, Homer and Marge must break the two up. Marge, though, has a plan. Instead of sending Lou back, she sends Homer in a cow suit. Marge, Bart and Lisa then go to Springfield airport where they are greeted by Apu who is aboard a cargo plane to India. Lou is put on the plane where Apu promises he will be "treated like a god" & receive "the kind of medical care that in America would go to humans". In the mean time, Homer, still dressed as a cow, is brought to a slaughter house. Homer, thinking it's a "laughter house" goes into the slaughterhouse, and almost gets killed, but Marge saves him just in time. The episode ends with Bart in his bed looking at a picture of him and Lou, stating that for once, he was glad he "had a cow, man."
When Lisa tries to trick Bart she plays a CD of animal sounds. Bart thinks it's his conscience, and when he discovers the CD he exclaims, "That wasn't my conscience mooing, it was... Tress MacNeille!" Also at the end of the episode Homer hears a PA system and says "That computer system sounds like Tress MacNeille!"