Based on a story by Dalton Trumbo, a rich man marries a medical doctor and becomes jealous of her patients. He gets advice from his gardener and tries working.
Peter Kirk (Henry Fonda) is skiing down a slope and is distracted by incompetent skier Helen Hunt (Barbara Stanwyck), knocking him unconscious. She pulls him out of the snow but has trouble moving him. She checks his pulse but cannot revive him. She puts on her skis and goes downhill for help. She returns with two men who put Peter on a sled. He comes to and tells her she is beautiful. She lays down on the sled and puts him in her lap.
Peter is carried on a stretcher into a California inn. A doctor asks Helen to leave because she is not a relative. She says she is a doctor in general practice, and Peter insists she is his doctor. She asks the doctor to take x-rays. She diagnoses Peter’s condition in detail.
Helen tells the desk clerk to give her the connecting room to Peter’s. In his room Peter calls for the doctor, and Helen comes in wearing a robe. He says he does not feel well but smiles at her. He says he was lonesome. She says goodnight, and he asks her to take his temperature and bets her he has one. She asks why he is important and learns it is because he has money. He won the bet and demands fifteen minutes. She discovers he has a sore throat and says he has no fractures, but he must stay in bed. He wants her to take care of him and says she is wonderful. She says goodnight and goes into her room. She gets in bed and is glad he is not 73. She gets up and locks the door.
The next day Mr. Barrows, Peter’s attorney, tells Helen he found out she has only been practicing for three years. His client wants her to be his doctor, but Barrows asks her to call in a specialist. She calls him an incipient nephritic.
Peter is eating when Helen knocks. He hides the food and lays on a couch. She checks his throat and tells him to gargle with salt water. She says she is through with his case. Peter says he will pay her, but she says he does not need her services. He apologizes, and she does too. He asks her to stay, but she says goodbye.
Helen gets in her car and drives off. The desk clerk gets a call from Peter who tells him to get Dr. Hunt back right away. Peter uncovers his breakfast and makes a sandwich. He hears her coming and hides it. Helen comes in and asks what is the matter. He says he is in pain. She pulls the blanket back and sees the sandwich. She explains her responsibility and resents his calling her back. He says he had a reason and asks her to sit down. He asks if she feels they will ever be married. He says he knew it right away. He says he loves her and will be a considerate husband. She asks if she may leave, and he lets her go. She starts to leave but comes back. He stands up, and she says he tried to sweep her off her feet; but she is grown woman with the clinical mind of a doctor. He takes her in his arms and kisses her. She says this cannot be because she has her practice. She says her duty to her patients has to come first. He says he is not worried. She tells him how busy she will be. He asks her to marry him and kisses her again. She says she tried and kisses him back.
Newspapers report the rich man’s wedding to a doctor. Peter carries Helen into his mansion where his seven servants are lined up to greet them. Peter introduces them to her. Peter asks Moody (Melville Cooper) to get their things out of the car. Helen asks to see the house and says a patient named Van called her. She is amazed how large the house is.
In the kitchen the servants prepare a tray for the newly weds. Gardener Billings (Edgar Buchanan) brings in a rose and puts it on the tray. The cook describes their meal, and the maid says they played love songs on the phonograph. She says they are not to be disturbed after the tray is taken up. They hear a buzzer, and Moody carries the tray up to their room.
Moody finds Peter sitting alone, and Peter says Helen has to leave for an emergency and to have the car ready for her. He tells Moody to get out. Helen tells Peter she has to go, and he feels like an abandoned bride. They kiss, and she says it may take most of the night and goes out.
Helen returns after three and finds Peter snoring. She kisses him, and he wakes. He asks about her patient. The phone rings, and he says it is Vandemer. She asks why he called and says she cannot talk about it now. She whispers so that Peter cannot hear. She laughs and says goodbye to Van. Peter gets angry. She says he asked her about the man she married. She says Peter is the finest man she has ever known. They embrace, and the phone rings again. Moody asks if he wants anything else. Peter takes the phone off the hook.
Helen is eating breakfast while reading a paper, and Peter comes in wearing a robe. He kisses her, and she says he snores. It is 6:45, and she says she has an appendectomy. She says she cannot neglect her practice, especially after her vacation. He is frustrated that their honeymoon is interrupted. He asks her to forgive him for being a jealous fool, and they embrace. He kisses her by the door, and after wavering she leaves. Moody asks Peter if he wants breakfast. Peter says he is not having breakfast alone. Moody asks what to do with her calls. Peter says he does not want to know about them unless it is Vandemer. Moody says he called again. Peter is suspicious.
Peter barges into Helen’s office where patients are waiting. Peter introduces himself to the nurse Emma (Ruth Donnelly). He asks about Vandemer’s appointment, and Emma says there is nothing definite. Peter asks to see her appointments so that he can wedge himself in. He gets permission to wait in her private office. He hears Helen laughing, and Emma catches him snooping.
Peter goes in and asks Helen why Andrews has his shirt off. Peter tries to fight Andrews while Helen and Emma stop him. Helen orders Peter to stay seated. She goes back to Andrews and asks him to engage another physician. He leaves. Helen explains to Peter that Andrews had abrasions on his back. She asks if he does not trust her. Peter says he does not trust Andrews. Peter asks her to forgive him and kisses her. He offers to take her to lunch, but she says she is busy. He leaves.
The next morning Peter sees Helen leave early again. Peter tells Moody that he and his wife are going out to dinner.
Peter goes into a locker-room and says he wants to play golf. Keckel comes in and congratulates Peter, laughing about Vandemer and at Peter.
That night as they get ready Helen asks Peter what he did today. He asks if Vandemer came in, and she says no. He asks if he is nice looking. She asks what he heard today. She says Van asked her marry before, and she said no. They talk over his jealousy again.
At a busy restaurant Peter says he can’t rumba. They see Vandemer (Roger Clark) dancing with a blonde. Van congratulates Helen and Peter, who looks at Van’s lower back where he was injured. Van kisses the bride, and Peter trips him, asking what happened. Helen prevents them from fighting and apologizes to Van. His back is hurting, and she says she will see him tomorrow. She leaves, and Peter pays the bill.
Helen walks quickly up the stairs and tells Peter she is going to sleep in the guest room. He asks her for another chance and agrees to sit down. She goes in the guest room, comes back, and asks him to come to bed. They embrace, and she kisses him.
At breakfast Peter reminds her she is seeing Vandemer. She says he is acting strangely. He says he is the happiest man in the world because of her. He kisses her and says he loves her. He will be thinking of her all day. She leaves for work. As she is driving off, Billings hands her a bouquet for her office. She asks him to encourage Peter to take up gardening.
Peter is walking outside, and Billings asks him to consider gardening. Billings says the earth is like a flirtatious woman, a woman who loves one tree now and another later. Peter keeps looking at his watch and thinking about Van. Peter thanks Billings for helping through a crisis. Billings asks when he wants to start, and Peter says it is over; he won.
That evening Helen comes in, and Peter tells her he won a battle. She is glad he is not jealous anymore. She says she did not see Van but is going to his house tonight. Peter gets jealous again, and she asks him to get over it so she can be proud of him. He says goodbye, and she drives off. Moody asks Peter about dinner. Peter says she will be back by eight. Moody is surprised she is going to see Vandemer because he heard from her cook that he is in excellent health. Peter puts on his coat and runs off.
Helen parks her car among many in front of a big house. Inside Van welcomes her. He opens a door, and many people surprise her. Van says her husband is being called. Outside Peter has a branch on his hat, and he looks in the window. He sees Helen dancing with Van and laughing. A woman sees Peter and screams. Peter comes in and knocks Van down. He tells Helen she is coming with him. He pulls her to their car. She says he spied on her. He was being invited there for their surprise party. She drives the car and tells him to take off the antlers.
At home she asks if he can explain his conduct, and he says no. She says he is a Gestapo and humiliated her. She asks him to have some purpose and do something worthwhile. He says there is no need for her to work. She says she has to have a reason for living. She says goodnight and locks the door.
In the morning Helen dismisses Moody. She knocks on Peter’s door and discovers he is gone. She asks Moody if he has seen Peter, and he says no.
Helen calls Moody from her office and asks if Peter has returned. Emma asks Helen what is the matter. She says her husband walked out on her. Emma says she is a wife. Emma lets the patient Delaney in, and Helen looks at his hand. Emma says Peter called and tells her he is in a department store. Helen rushes out.
In the store Peter sees Helen and kisses her. She learns he is Mr. Jenkins and is working. He is happy to be working selling ties. He serves a customer. Three employees have learned he is a millionaire. Helen watches Peter make a sale. She tells him to forget last night. She says he is going places, and she is going with him. She kisses him and leaves.
Helen returns to her office and tells Emma she is laid off with a good recommendation. Helen says she is in love with her husband. Helen tells her that Peter is selling ties and can do anything. Helen says marriage is learning how to give. She is very happy.
Peter is told to see the general manager. The three employees are in the room. Peter admits to the manager that he lied about his name and experience. The manager says the employees have complained. Their representative explains to Peter that he stole a job from an employee. Peter says the job is important to him for his happiness. He asks to be treated based on his work. The representative argues against him staying and demands that he be removed. The manager discharges Peter and asks about a recommendation. The representative warns him they would publicize his case, and then no one would hire him. Peter decides to leave and donates his pay to the employees fund.
Peter talks to Billings as he is watering. Billings says if he were rich, he would be making jobs, not taking one. Peter thanks him and tells Billings to give a message to Helen that he has gone to find his place in life.
Helen says goodbye to Emma on the street and buys a newspaper about the millionaire losing his job. Two reporters tell her that it is becoming a national issue. She says he has a right to work but does not give her name.
Helen runs ads in the newspaper asking Peter to come home. In her empty office the phone rings. She learns it is Central Hospital about her husband. She hurries to the hospital.
She finds Peter and complains. He tells her they are buying the hospital. She says it is going out of business. He says he has enough income to handle the annual loss of more than half a million. He says she will be chief of staff. They talk about how they can help people. She says they won’t have much money left over, and they are both very happy. They have made up and think about having children.
This comedy explores the early stages of a sudden marriage. The idle rich man has little to do and thinks about his wife, becoming jealous and resentful of her work. She likes her career and urges her husband to find some purpose in life. Both learn to forgive each other, and finally he realizes what he can do.