When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
Woody, Buzz, and all their friends have been spending the last two years with Bonnie. As she starts kindergarten, Woody helps her make a new toy from a spork, which she names Forky, and he comes to life. Although Woody tries to convince Forky that he is Bonnie’s new favorite toy, he thinks he is trash and tries to throw himself out. During a family trip, Forky jumps out of the RV, and Woody goes after him.
On their way back to the RV, Woody thinks he sees his long lost love Bo Peep in an antique shop, but he is instead found by a doll named Gabby Gabby, who wants Woody’s voice box since hers is broken, and no kid will play with her as a result. Forky is taken by Gabby’s dummies, while Woody reunites with Bo, who has become an adventurous toy that helps other lost toys find kids who will play with them instead of being confined to one kid. Woody convinces Bo and her tiny friend Giggle McDimples to help get Forky back, and they are helped by Buzz, plus plush dolls Duck and Bunny, as well as Canadian stuntman toy Duke Caboom.
While trying to rescue Forky, Woody ends up giving Gabby his voice box in exchange for him. However, the girl that Gabby wanted to adopt her ends up rejecting her, leaving Gabby feeling sad. Woody convinces her to go back to Bonnie with him and the others, leading the main toy gang and Woody’s new friends to help get back to Bonnie’s family’s RV. On the way, they see a little girl lost at the amusement park, and Woody tells Gabby to go with her. The girl finds Gabby and takes her home.
The toys reach the RV, but as Woody starts to go back, Buzz realizes that he wants to stay with Bo. Woody says goodbye to his friends and stays with Bo, helping her get other toys to new kids. Meanwhile, Forky accepts his position as Bonnie’s toy and joins the gang.
In a flashback to nine years ago (between the events of the previous two films) R.C. is being swept down a storm drain. Woody and the other toys mount a successful rescue operation, but while they are busy, a mysterious man buys Bo Peep; despite Woody’s efforts to prevent the sale, Bo reassures him that it is part of being a toy to be taken away.
Two years after Andy donated his toys to Bonnie, Woody and the other toys are content in their new life. Worried that Bonnie will feel overwhelmed at her kindergarten orientation, Woody—who Bonnie has been neglecting—sneaks into her backpack, and his fears come to light as Bonnie becomes shy around her new classmates. Woody covertly places a spork and other items from a trash can on Bonnie’s table during arts and crafts, and she turns them into a handmade toy-spork she names “Forky”. After Bonnie places Forky in her backpack, he comes to life, much to Woody’s shock.
After Woody introduces him to the rest of Bonnie’s toys, Forky experiences an existential crisis, believing that he was made to be trash and not a toy, and the other toys prevent him from throwing himself away. On a road trip with Bonnie’s family and her toys, Forky—still believing himself to be trash—jumps out of the window, prompting Woody to go after him. Woody convinces Forky of the joys of being a toy, and they journey to the RV park at a nearby town where Bonnie and her parents will be staying.
Reaching the town, Woody spots Bo’s lamp at an Antique Store. Searching for Bo inside, he and Forky encounter a doll named Gabby Gabby and her sycophant puppets, the Bensons. Gabby Gabby offers to take them to Bo, but soon reveals her true plan to obtain Woody’s voice box, since her own is broken and no child will purchase her. When Bonnie and her parents enter the store, Woody and Forky try to escape, but Forky is captured by Gabby Gabby. By the time Woody escapes the shop, Bonnie’s RV has left without him, and he realizes that he has left Forky behind. Woody reunites with Bo, who has become a nomad adventurer helping lost toys find owners. With Bo’s companion, a miniature cop named Giggles McDimples, they take a route through a nearby carnival to rescue Forky from the antique store.
Meanwhile, Buzz searches for Woody on his own, seeking guidance in the button-induced phrases from his own voice box. Buzz finds himself as a prize in a carnival booth and escapes with plush toys Ducky and Bunny. Buzz finds Woody and Bo, and they recruit Ducky and Bunny to help rescue Forky, promising that they will become Bonnie’s toys, along with Bo’s old friend from the antique store, Duke Caboom, a Canadian stuntman toy.
At the antique store, the toys’ plan to rescue Forky fails. Woody, the only toy still determined to save Forky, has a falling out with the other toys, and indirectly insults Bo. As Bo, Duke, Giggles, Ducky, and Bunny return to the carnival, Woody gives up his voice box to Gabby Gabby in exchange for Forky. Gabby Gabby is desperate to be adopted by Margaret (the store owner’s granddaughter), Harmony, but Harmony is creeped out by Gabby Gabby’s new voice and rejects her. Buzz returns to Bonnie’s RV and cries out to retrieve Bonnie’s backpack, which she left at the antique store. Woody comforts Gabby Gabby, and Bo and her gang return after a change of heart.
After Bonnie returns for her backpack, the toys follow her and her parents. Through Duke’s motorcycle skills, Buzz and Forky make it back to Bonnie, who is overjoyed to have Forky back. Taking Woody’s advice, Gabby Gabby sees a little girl crying and gives her comfort, and is finally adopted. As Woody and Bo say goodbye, Woody becomes hesitant in returning with Bonnie. With some encouragement from Buzz, Woody decides to stay with Bo and help lost toys find owners. Buzz and the gang give Woody and Bo a goodbye hug and the two groups go their separate ways.
In the mid-credits scenes after Woody and Bo travelling with the carnival, one year has passed and Bonnie has entered first-grade. Jessie brings home a new friend Bonnie created: Knifey, a decorated plastic knife. Instantly smitten, Forky offers to shepherd her in her journey through life as a toy instead of trash. When her first question is “Why am I alive?”, he is stumped.
The film starts nine years ago on a stormy night. Jessie (Joan Cusack) and Bullseye are looking out the window for missing toys. Andy (Jack McGraw) comes in with the other toys, but they are all panicking because RC has been left outside in a storm drain and is about to be swept away. Using Slinky (Blake Clark), Woody (Tom Hanks) climbs down and tries to reach RC, but he’s too far away. Bo Peep (Annie Potts) uses her cane and the barrel of monkeys to give Woody more distance, and he is able to save RC. However, when Woody climbs back up, he sees Mrs. Davis (Laurie Metcalf) in Molly’s room giving Bo’s lamp (along with Bo and her sheep) away to a man. Woody rushes to the box where Bo is to try and get her back, but she is okay with this and is eager to move on. She invites Woody to join her, and he nearly does until Andy runs out looking for him. Woody sadly watches as Bo is taken away.
Two years later, Woody and the rest of his friends – Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie, Bullseye, Hamm (John Ratzenburger), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (Don Rickles and Estelle Harris), Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Dolly (Bonnie Hunt), Buttercup (Jeff Garlin), and the Little Green Men – have been living with Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) and have enjoyed a new kid to play with them. Although, as of late, Bonnie hasn’t played with Woody as much, leaving him in the closet to watch the others play. He claims to not be bothered by it, but the other neglected toys can see it. Bonnie’s parents (Jay Hernandez and Lori Alan) come in to tell Bonnie that she has to go to her kindergarten orientation. She is told she can’t bring a toy, so Woody sneaks into her backpack to join her.
At the school, Bonnie sits alone sadly while the other kids do arts and crafts, and she is left with little to work with. Woody runs to the trash and manages to pull out a few things for her to use. Bonnie gets creative and starts to craft a new toy from a spork, a popsicle stick, some pipe cleaners, and a bit of clay, and thus, Forky (Tony Hale) is born. Literally, he comes to life in Bonnie’s backpack when Woody sees him. They return home and he introduces everyone to Forky. He thinks he is trash and doesn’t understand when Woody tells him he is Bonnie’s new toy. Forky spends much of his time trying to jump into the garbage bin, with Woody having to push him back out when Bonnie wants to play with him.
Bonnie and her parents head out on a road trip the week before she starts school. Forky continues to try and throw himself away, and Woody keeps having to stop him. As Bonnie sleeps, Woody watches her to make sure Forky doesn’t get away, and he is joined by Buzz. The two discuss their responsibilities as toys, but they notice that Forky is gone. Eventually, Forky jumps out the open window, and Woody runs after him, leading him to fall out of the RV. As they walk to catch up with everyone, Woody explains to Forky why Bonnie needs him and how great it is to be a toy for kids to play with. Forky interprets this as him still being trash, but trash that belongs to Bonnie, so he is convinced to go back to her. Later, Bonnie discovers Forky is missing and she becomes distraught.
Woody and Forky make it into the town where the RV park is, but when they pass by an antique shop, Woody notices Bo’s lamp and thinks she is around. They enter the shop and are found by a doll named Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) and her ventriloquist dummy assistant Benson. Gabby appears friendly and offers to take them to find Bo, until she mentions that her voice box is broken, and getting a new one would help her find a kid that wants to play with her. She and the other dummies try to take Woody’s voice box by force, prompting him and Forky to run when Gabby is distracted. They spot Bonnie and her parents and try to get out, but they miss her as they leave the store. Woody is found by Harmony (Lila Sage Bromley), the granddaughter of the store owner Margaret (June Squibb), and the same little girl that Gabby wants as her kid. Forky is left behind as the dummies take him.
Back in the RV, the other toys panic as Woody and Forky are missing. Buzz listens to his “inner voice” (his catchphrase button) and decides to head out on his own to find them. He comes across an amusement park and almost reaches the highway, until he gets knocked to the ground and is found by a carnie named Axel (Bill Hader). He ties Buzz up to the prize wall where he meets Ducky and Bunny (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), two plush toys that have been waiting years to be won and given to kids.
Woody is taken to a playground, and when Harmony walks away, he retreats and tries to head back to the shop. Unfortunately, a bunch of other kids come around and start to play with the other toys scattered around. One kid picks him up and plays with him and…BO. The two then run away and catch up, with Bo learning that Woody and the gang have moved on from Andy to a new kid, while Bo had been kept in the antique store for two years before deciding to become an independent toy that helps other toys find kids. She travels with a tiny police toy companion named Giggle McDimples (Ally Maki), as well as her sheep – Billy, Goat, and Gruff. Although Bo says she is fine without a kid, Woody tells Giggle about how she was there for Molly when she was scared of the dark and couldn’t sleep until her mom got her Bo and her lamp. Woody tells Bo that he needs to find Forky, so she and Giggle agree to help him out. They ride her skunkmobile to get through crowds of people undetected.
In the shop, Forky is being taken care of by Gabby and the dummies. They watch as Harmony comes back in, hoping she will go for Gabby, but she never does. Gabby then asks Forky to tell her all he knows about Woody.
Woody, Bo, and Giggle ride through the carnival toward the street where the shop is. They are found by Buzz, Ducky, and Bunny, who managed to come loose off the wall. Buzz and Bo reunite, and they all team up to get Forky back, with Ducky and Bunny hoping it means they’ll get to be Bonnie’s toys too. Meanwhile, Bonnie’s other toys do what they can to keep her family in the RV park, like cutting their tires. The other toys make it into the shop, but they are spotted by the dummies, and Bo’s sheep get taken by them. They realize they need a key to the cabinet where Forky is being held, so Ducky and Bunny try to come up with ideas on how to get it (which mostly involve attacking Margaret).
Woody and Bo go to get help from a hidden section in the shop where other toys are having a party. They find a Canadian stuntman toy named Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves). He was previously owned by another boy, but he became disappointed when Duke couldn’t do the same cool jump as the toy in his commercial. He promises to help Woody and Bo get to Forky after Woody suggests that he might find a kid to be played with. They are then joined by Buzz, Ducky, and Bunny after Margaret simply leaves the key lying around. They then head to the cabinet where Woody must jump with Duke off his motorcycle. As they attempt to make the leap, Duke becomes distracted by the thought of disappointing his previous kid, which ruins the jump and sends Woody flying on his own toward the cabinet. He finds Forky, but Gabby and the dummies attempt to take Woody’s voice box again. In the chaos, Giggle gets eaten by Margaret’s cat (but is coughed back up), and the toys are sent out of the store. Woody insists on going back for Forky, telling Bo that Bonnie needs them, but she tells him it’s more like Woody needs Bonnie, and he admits that she is all he has left to look forward to. He argues that it’s out of loyalty and that Bo wouldn’t know about it because she’s a “lost toy”, which offends her. They split up, and Woody goes back into the store, with Buzz deciding to return to the RV. Woody finds Gabby and ultimately surrenders his voice box to get Forky back.
Buzz returns to the RV and tells the toys that they need to get Woody and Forky out of the shop. Buzz manages to alert Bonnie (without letting her know he’s alive) about her backpack, prompting her parents to drive back to get it. At the same time, Bo decides to head back with Giggle, Ducky, Bunny, and the sheep to help Woody, as Bo admires Woody’s sense of loyalty.
The dummies put the new voice box in Gabby and watch as Harmony goes back into the store. She sees Gabby and briefly seems to like her voice, but she ends up tossing Gabby aside, leaving her heartbroken. Woody cheers her up by convincing her that they can get her adopted by Bonnie. Bonnie then goes to the store with her mom for the backpack, and Woody puts Forky in there before it’s taken. Bonnie finds Forky and is elated. Forky tells the other toys that Woody wants them to meet him at the carousel in the amusement park, so they end up taking over the RV to get it toward the park. Meanwhile, Woody and his friends use Duke and his motorcycle to make their way to the carousel. On their way, they see a lost little girl crying. Woody tells Gabby this is her chance to find a kid. Sure enough, the little girl spots Gabby and is comforted by her voice. She eventually finds her parents, and Gabby smiles at Woody as she goes home with the girl.
The RV reaches the carousel as Bonnie’s parents get pulled over. Woody parts ways with Bo and the others, though he appears sad about it. As he goes back with Buzz, he assures Woody that Bonnie will be okay, as he knows what Woody really wants. The other toys come out to say hi to Bo, but they realize that Woody wants to stay with her. He gives Jessie his sheriff’s badge, and then hugs all of his old friends goodbye, with Forky being the last. The toys rush back to the RV, where Rex asks Buzz if Woody is a lost toy now too, but Buzz says he isn’t lost anymore. As Woody and Bo watch from the top of the carousel, Buzz gives one last, “To infinity…”, which Woody replies with, “…and beyond.”
During the credits, Woody and Bo help other carnival toys get adopted, while Duke becomes friends with Ducky and Bunny. At home, a year passes, and Bonnie is now in first grade. Jessie introduces the gang to a new toy Bonnie made, Knifey. Forky falls for her and tries to give her the same explanation that Woody gave him on how she is a toy and not trash. When Knifey asks how they are alive, Forky says he doesn’t know with a smile on his face.