MacGyver returns home from a mission to the Arctic Circle and discovers that Jack Dalton has turned his houseboat upside down while building an ultralight glider. A mailman, Gertie, arrives with mail for Jack. One envelope contains photographs of his father with his flight crew in front of a bomber and a note from "a friend," saying that Jack's father died in Korea. Jack explains that he never knew what his father looked like. Someone has been sending packages for the last four days containing Jack Sr.'s personal effects. Jack grew up with foster parents in high school and he never knew his real mother. She gave him up for adoption as a baby. MacGyver figures that the note is from his mother and she's trying to reach out. Jack doesn't believe it but his friend says he needs to give it a try.
Pete runs a trace on the ID number on the bomber and determines that Jack Sr. was posthumously awarded a citation for staying with the plane and saving his comrades. His wife, Francine, put in for maternity benefits and a child was born in 1951. However, Francine has been a fugitive from justice for three years after she was arrested along her boss, broker Arthur Bandel. Bandel was involved in a multi-million dollar stock swindle and Francine was charged as a co-conspirator. She jumped bail and has been on the run ever since. Since then, Bandel has been doing whatever he can to keep the case out of court. MacGyver suggests they talk to the bondsman who put up her bail. Jack wonders if it's more trouble than it's worth but MacGyver offers to help if he wants to pursue the matter.
MacGyver and Jack meet with Marty Ricco, who is unhappy that he'll lose $100,000 when the Bandel case goes to trial in two days. The police record shows that she called a Sam Greer the night she was arrested. Greer owns a bar, The Wingman, and Ricco offers them a commission if they bring him in. Once they're gone, a bounty hunter comes in: Jesse Colton. He insists that Francine Dalton is his.
Outside, MacGyver reminds Jack that Sam "Sparky" Greer flew with Jack Sr., who saved his life. Jesse has already talked to Greer but Marty suggests Jack and MacGyver might be able to find something. Jesse and Marty leave, and Marty's secretary Dawn calls Bandel and tells him what she's overheard. Bandel calls in Ken and Dave and tells them to get Jack so he can use him as leverage to get the evidence that Francine has on him.
Jack and MacGyver arrive at the bar and spot the same photo behind the bar that was sent to Jack. Sparky admits he sent all of Jack Sr.'s belongings to Jack but wasn't sure how he'd take it. Jack wants information on Francine but Sparky claims he hasn't seen her. MacGyver tells him that they know Francine called him three years ago when she was arrested and he couldn't have tracked Jack down on his own. MacGyver notices an older woman upstairs watching them from the office. Sparky tells Jack to leave it alone but MacGyver gets Jack and they head upstairs. They arrive to discover Francine playing poker for big stakes. Once the game is over, Jack introduces himself but Francine initially denies having a son. She finally admits she's Jack's mother but claims she had nothing to do with contacting Jack and she doesn't feel any guilt about abandoning Jack as a baby. Jack storms out while MacGyver demands answers. Francine insists that she's trying to save Jack's life and she'll deal with it on her own. She finally explains she's holding evidence that can put Bandel away, and she won't be harmed as long as she has the evidence. She figures Bandel will use Jack against her if he learns she has a son. MacGyver says she needs to make Jack understand.
Outside, Ken and Dave capture Jack in the alleyway and take him away. MacGyver and Francine come out and MacGyver leaps onto the car. They manage to knock him loose and MacGyver gets out of the way just in time before they can run him over. Francine recognizes them as Bandel's men. Before they can pursue, Colton arrives and captures both of them, taking MacGyver's Swiss Army knife and locking them up in his van. Jesse isn't interested in Jack's problems. Sparky comes out and Jesse chases him away. Francine explains that Sparky will take a computer disk with the evidence to the Justice Department, and Bandel will kill Jack out of spite. They have to stop Sparky from sending the disk.
As Colton drives away, MacGyver and Francine manage to pull over a tire jack but he can't unscrew the bolt fastening them to the floor of the van until they get Colton out of the van. Francine offers Colton $10,000 more than the bounty if he takes her back to the bar. Colton pulls over to call Marty and MacGyver unscrews the bolts. He crawls up to the cab and finds the keys, gets the handcuffs open, and drives away in the van.
Back at the bar, Sparky calls the Justice Department and tries to get through to the attorney general.
At his office, Bandel explains to Jack that Francine became a liability he couldn't afford. Jack figures his mother doesn't care about him and he's no good as leverage.
MacGyver and Francine get back to the bar just in time to stop Sparky from making his call. She planned to arrive in court and present the evidence against Bandel at his hearing. MacGyver suggests they make a trade and Francine calls to exchange the disk for Jack. He tells her to come alone to his office building at 7 a.m. the next morning
The next morning, MacGyver sneaks onto the building grounds but Colton is waiting for him and wants Francine. MacGyver explains that Francine is trying to save her son. When that doesn't work, MacGyver manages to disarm the bounty hunter and explains that Francine will be in court the next day and Colton can help or get out of the way. Colton agrees to help and gives MacGyver back his knife. When MacGyver tries to unscrew the ventilation shaft, Colton blasts it open with his shotgun.
Francine arrives at the front gate, alone, and enters the building. She meets Bandel in the lobby and shows him she has the disk. Bandel shows her Jack and tells Francine to take the elevator up to the fourth floor. As it rises, MacGyver hangs from the underside. When it arrives, MacGyver goes up to the next floor's electrical closet. Francine enters Bandel's office and his henchmen take the disk. Francine explains to Jack that she said what she said to keep him out of the entire situation. Meanwhile, MacGyver shuts off the power to the fourth floor and slips outside. He goes outside while Bandel's man Dave restores the power. Ken is unable to bypass the password and Bandel threatens Jack to force her to give up the password.
MacGyver gets the drop on Dave, knocks him out, and locks him in a closet. Meanwhile, Ken accesses the disk and Francine explains that she loved Jack Sr. and couldn't deal with bringing up Jack in her grief. She admits she never stopped loving him. The power goes out again and Bandel figures Francine brought someone with her. He sends Ken to investigate and MacGyver takes him out as well. He then goes back inside and leaps onto the interior of the lobby window. As he climbs down, Colton arrives and tries to capture Francine. Bandel takes her hostage but Colton dares him to shoot her since he gets the bounty either way. Bandel backs up beneath MacGyver, who jumps down and disarms him. MacGyver takes the disk and thanks Colton for his help, and suggests he give Francine a few minutes with her son.
Later, Colton collects his bounty, takes a vacation to Hawaii, and sends everyone a postcard. Francine is happy to finally be free after three years and promises to do what she can to be a mother to Jack and make up for lost time.