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Just a Few Reminders...
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"Come for the dells...Stay at Linda's"
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Chicagoan Chester "Chet" Ripley (John Candy), his wife Connie (Stephanie Faracy), and their two sons, Buckley "Buck" and Ben, are vacationing at a lake resort in Pechoggin, Wisconsin, for the summer. All goes as planned until Connie's sister, Kate (Annette Bening), her investment broker husband, Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd), and their mostly-silent twin daughters, Mara and Cara, unexpectedly arrive uninvited. Ghost stories after the family BBQ include one of a man-eating grizzly bear that Chet met directly when he was younger. Chet says that while he and Connie were honeymooning at the same lake, he was attacked by a giant grizzly bear (Bart the Bear). When he fired at it with a shotgun, the buckshot shaved the hair off the top of the bear's head and from then on, it was known as the "Bald-Headed Bear" of Clare County. After Roman pulls Chet around the lake on an impromptu water ski ride with his rented speedboat, tensions between the families erupt. Chet is ready to pack up and go home, even as his teenage son Buck tries to romance a local girl, Cammie. The budding romance goes well until Chet is challenged to eat a 96-ounce steak called "the Old 96'er" at a family dinner which causes Buck to break their date. Buck tries to apologize to Cammie for being late, but Cammie refuses to speak to him. Connie and Kate bond at a local bar when the conversation drifts to Kate's feelings of loneliness with Roman despite their wealth. Later, just at the peak of tension between families, Roman tells of the time at his and Kate's wedding when he overheard a conversation between Chet and their father-in-law describing how they think Roman is a crooked businessman. Roman then tells Chet why he came up to visit: to offer Chet a $25,000 investment opportunity. Chet, feeling guilty from the wedding story, is initially reluctant, but eventually agrees to write Roman a check for the whole amount. The families say their goodbyes and Roman and his family head back to Chicago. On the car ride home, Kate praises Roman for including Chet in the investment, noting that $25,000 is a lot of money for them. Roman, now feeling guilty himself, halts the car and returns to the cabin. Upon his return, Roman confesses that the story about the wedding conversation never happened and that he is broke from some failed investments. His true intention for coming up to the lake was to solicit money from Chet to financially recover. During a thunderstorm, Kate discovers the twins have gone missing. Chet and Roman find them at the bottom of an old mine shaft, but the claustrophobic Roman is reluctant to descend into the tiny space. After some encouragement from Chet, Roman reluctantly climbs down into the mine, while Chet searches for a rope to pull them out. Upon realizing that the mine is stocked with old dynamite, Roman takes his daughters and escapes the shaft on his own. Upon returning with the rope, Chet is horrified to discover the "Bald-Headed Bear" lurking in the mine. It chases him back to the cabin, smashes through the door, and rampages through the house. Wally, the cabin owner, bursts in with a loaded shotgun while Roman tries to hold off the animal with a fireplace poker and an oar. Chet takes the gun and shoots the bear, blowing the fur off its rear. Roaring in pain, the bear runs out of the house. The next morning, the families part on amicable terms. Unbeknownst to Chet, Connie has invited the Craigs to stay with them until they can recover. Cammie accepts Buck's apologies and they end their brief romance, as the Ripleys return to Chicago. In a post-credits scene, a family of raccoons (who rummaged through the trash cans throughout the film) discovers the bear sitting in the lake, embarrassed due to being "bald on both ends"