The story begins by introducing three horribly gluttonous farmers who are being robbed of their livestock by a clever fox trying to provide for his family. The farmers, Boggis, Bunce, and Bean, decide they must come up with plan to catch the fox. They stake out the fox’s hole, but only manage to shoot off Mr. Fox's tail. Unwilling to give up easily, they plan to dig the foxes out. In desperation, Mr. Fox and his family begin their own excavations, attempting to out-dig the farmers. Things begin to look bleak when the farmers fetch their caterpillar tractors, but they still can’t catch the foxes.
The fanatical pursuit continues as the three farmers vow that they will not give up until they have the fox strung up. They decide they will starve him out and immediately set up camp by the hole and call for all the farm workers to surround the hill. The plan is working – the foxes are getting weaker and hungrier by the minute. Right when it looks like they might give up, Mr. Fox comes up with a fantastic plan. Leaving Mrs. Fox behind to rest, Mr. Fox and his young foxes begin frantically digging in one specific direction – Boggis’ Chicken House. They carefully steal some chickens and then are off to raid Bunce’s storehouse of ducks, geese, and vegetables, as well as Bean’s apple cider cellar.
On the way, they come across Badger who is also digging for his life and he tells the foxes that many digging animals are in danger because of the farmers’ plot against the foxes! Mr. Fox proves he is not just clever but also generous by inviting all the other animals for the greatest feast of all time, prepared from their recently stolen loot. He then has even grander plans to build an underground town and never have to go above ground again! The story ends with the farmers waiting in the pouring rain. It looks like they will be here for a long, long time.