Charles (Van Johnson) is a newspaper man trying to write the great American novel and not having much success. We begin to wonder whether or not he really is a very good writer, or whether he just has a string of bad luck with publishers. Rejection, after rejection piles up and his frustration overflows, and indiscretions begin. Helen, (Elizabeth Taylor) just does what she really wants to do, which is to party in Paris all the time. And no one in the movie really blames her either. Except her sister Mary (Donna Reed) who has a pissy, frigid attitude because she fell in love with Charles first. The tempestuous love story covers their lives as eager young lovers at the end of WW II until the fading of the marriage and family years later.