In 1890, all of New York City is excited because widowed, brassy Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) is in town ("Call On Dolly"). Dolly makes a living through matchmaking and numerous sidelines ("Just Leave Everything to Me"). She is currently seeking a wife for grumpy Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau), the well-known "half-a-millionaire", but it becomes clear that Dolly intends to marry Horace herself. Dolly travels to Yonkers, New York to visit Horace. Ambrose Kemper (Tommy Tune), a young artist, wants to marry Horace's weepy niece, Ermengarde (Joyce Ames), but Horace opposes this because Ambrose's vocation does not guarantee a steady living. Horace, who is the owner of Vandergelder's Hay and Feed, explains to his two clerks, Cornelius Hackl (Michael Crawford) and Barnaby Tucker (Danny Lockin), that he is going to get married because "It Takes a Woman" to cheerfully do all the household chores. He plans to travel to New York City to propose to Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew), who owns a hat shop there. Dolly arrives in Yonkers and sends Horace ahead to the city. Before leaving, he tells Cornelius and Barnaby to mind the store.