A foreign correspondent and an actress marry, but their careers allow them little time together.
In 1927 in New York city Christopher Tyler (James Stewart) takes Cicely (Margaret Sullavan) to her train back to college. They love each other, and she decides to stay. Chris takes her to the house of a foreign correspondent he's using. Tommy Abbott (Ray Milland) comes in, and Chris asks him to be best man at the wedding. Cicely tells Tommy she plans to work so as not to burden Chris, who has to leave to cover a murder. Cicely gets a part in a play, and Chris writes a story about Mussolini. Cicely rehearses, and Chris criticizes her; but they are happy together. Backstage Chris enthusiastically tells her he was assigned to Rome. She tells Chris she is not going with him because of her acting role. She and Tommy see Chris off at the boat, and she tells Tommy that she is going to have a baby.
The editor Frank Carteret (Robert McWade) fires Chris for leaving Rome. Chris comes home to Cicely and his baby boy Kit. Chris sees Tommy and says he is doing city news. Tommy lends Cicely money. She buys a baby carriage and tells Chris she got an advance on her contract acting. Cicely pleads with Carteret to give her husband a position, and he sends Chris to Moscow. Cicely gets a letter that Chris is coming back; she is moving to a new place and says she is scared because they have been apart so long. Chris comes to her new apartment and her home in the country to see Kit. They don't expect anything of each other.
In 1935 Kit is tutored in French, and Tommy comes to see Cicely. She asks about his fiancée; but he asks her to divorce Chris and marry him. She still loves Chris although she rarely sees him. She says Chris offered her a divorce, but she has to wait. At Geneva Chris meets Carteret, who is now a correspondent. Carteret learns that Chris is ill, but he hasn't told Cicely. She visits Chris and says he looks tired. He is writing a book and says he doesn't think about her, asking if she is still in love with Tommy. She wants to have fun for three days; but he tries to leave and won't tell her why. Cicely realizes that Chris is sick. He tells her he loves her and always has.
This realistic drama explores the difficulties of a married couple when both have successful careers that cause them to be separated. Already international conflicts are beginning to affect some Americans, who are sensitive to world issues.