Sons of the Desert is a Laurel & Hardy sound feature film released 29 December 1933.
Stan and Ollie are members of the Sons of the Desert, a fraternal lodge. The organization will be holding its annual convention in Chicago in a week and all members have to take an oath to attend. Stan is reluctant to take the oath, but Ollie goads him into it. On their way home, Stan explains his reluctance; he is worried that his wife Betty will not let him go to the convention. Ollie tries to reassure Stan his wife has no choice but to let him go because he took a sacred oath. When they get home and Stan accidentally brings up the subject of the convention, however, it turns out Ollie's wife Lottie will not let him go as they had already arranged a mountain trip together, which Oliver had forgotten. Ollie remarks that his wife is "only clowning," and she chucks a bowl at his head, followed by another one when he attempts to establish his authority as the boss of the house.
Unwilling to go back on the oath that he swore, but also unwilling to provoke further wrath from his wife, Ollie feigns illness to get out of the mountain trip. Stan arranges for a doctor, actually a veterinarian, to prescribe an ocean voyage to Honolulu, with their wives staying home; ocean voyages disagree with his wife. Stan and Ollie go to the convention, with their wives none the wiser. They have a close call while drinking with a fellow conventioneer when, as a practical joke, their friend "Charley" calls his sister in Los Angeles... who turns out to be Mrs. Hardy! However, nothing comes of this.
While Stan and Ollie are en route home from Chicago, their supposed ship arriving from Honolulu sinks in a typhoon and the wives head to the shipping company's offices to find out any news about the survivors. At the same time, Stan and Ollie, blissfully unaware as of yet of the shipwreck, return home as though from Honolulu, complete with leis, pineapples and a rousing ukulele song which, incidentally, had been part of the floor show entertainment at the Chicago convention. They are confused by the empty houses. While Stan reads the paper, Ollie suddenly catches sight the headline of their supposed ship's demise and immediately grasps its grisly implications. He reads it out to Stan, who at first humorously remarks on what a good thing it was they didn't go to Honolulu; then, when it finally sinks in, he goes into a tizzy.
Panic-stricken, they prepare to go to a hotel to spend the night, only to catch sight of their wives returning. They hastily take refuge in the attic and, as they can't escape, decide to camp out there. Meanwhile, the wives go to the cinema to calm their rattled nerves...and what should they see but a newsreel of the convention in which their husbands act like complete hams for the cameras! Furious at being deceived, they blame one another's wayward spouses, while Betty, knowing Stan lied for the first time ever to her, is still confident he will atone and confess, more than Ollie will. Outraged Lottie proposes a challenge to see whose husband is the truthful one. As for the husbands, their camping in the attic starts out smoothly enough but a loud noise attracts the attention of the wives, prompting Betty to investigate with her shotgun. The boys escape to the rooftop. When they cannot get back in, Ollie sees this as their opportunity to follow their original plan of going to a hotel to pass the night. Stan, however, wants to go back home and confess to his wife but Ollie threatens, "If you go downstairs and spill the beans, I'll tell Betty that I caught you smoking a cigarette!"
Making their way to a hotel, they are stopped by a policeman whom Stan gives their home addresses. The wives notice them coming, but while Lottie is all for shooting them the moment they walk through the door, Betty reminds her of their little argument that needs to be settled. Upon walking into the house, they tell the wives about the shipwreck. Then, when asked about how the pair of them had managed to get home a day before the rescue ship carrying the survivors was due, their story begins to unravel; they say they jumped ship and "ship-hiked" their way home. Then Lottie looks Ollie in the eye and asks him if his story is the truth. He insists it is; "It's too far-fetched not to be the truth!" Then Betty asks Stan if Ollie's story is true. After a long silence Stan eventually breaks down and tearfully confesses them going to the convention. Betty picks up her shotgun while Stan continues whimpering and ominously says to her husband "Come along, Stanley." After they leave, and after failed attempts to charm her with babyish mannerisms, Ollie audaciously suggests going on the mountain trip they arranged in the first place. Watched by her bemused husband, Lottie empties the kitchen cupboards, piling up crockery. Meanwhile, on the Laurels' side of the house, Stan is seen wrapped in a dressing gown on the sofa, sipping wine and eating chocolates, being pampered by Betty, who relays the age old moral to him, "Honesty is the best policy." Stan agrees happily, as the sounds of hurled pieces of crockery start coming from the Hardys' side. Lottie, in a livid frenzy, is throwing pots, pans and dishes at Ollie.
After the maelstrom Stan arrives from next-door to compare notes, sees Hardy sitting in the wreckage and tells Ollie that his wife said that "honesty is the best politics!" Stan puffs on a once-forbidden cigarette, and then goes out the door singing "Honolulu Baby". Ollie vengefully hurls a pot at his head, upending him.
- Stan Laurel as Stanley
- Oliver Hardy as Oliver
- Charley Chase as Charley
- Mae Busch as Mrs. Lottie Hardy
- Dorothy Christy as Mrs. Betty Laurel
- Lucien Littlefield as the Veterinarian
- Ty Parvis as the sailor in Honolulu Baby song and dance
- Charita Alden as the lead Hawaiian hula dancer
- Robert Cummings as a ship steward