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After a nuclear blast kills most of the world's population, Roseanne, a pregnant young woman, wanders through a small town, finding only the skeletal remains of the inhabitants. Traumatized, she makes her way to her aunt's country house but discovers that her aunt has died in the disaster and that a young man, Michael Rogin, is now living in the house. When Michael first appears, Roseanne screams and faints. As she wakes up, Michael declares that he recognizes her from photos he found at the house, and Roseanne later explains that the man seen with her in the photos is her husband. Michael tells her that he was operating an elevator at the Empire State Building when the blast occurred, and that he believed that he was the only one alive in all New York City. Roseanne explains that at the fateful moment, she was in the hospital getting x-rayed, and Michael surmises that the lead walls of the x-ray room saved her. The pair set up housekeeping, with Michael, a misanthropic ne'er-do-well from Dartmouth, exclaiming his satisfaction at having a chance to start his life over again close to nature. When Michael tries to kiss Roseanne, she sobs and informs him that she is pregnant. Just then, they hear a car horn honk and go out to meet Oliver Peabody Schaeffer, a banker, and Charles, a black bank cashier, who survived the blast because they were locked in the bank vault. Schaeffer is in a state of delirium, and eventually the telltale signs of radiation poisoning--purplish marks on the skin--become visible. Charles and Michael begin installing a generator and planting crops, and Schaeffer, his condition improving, begs that they take him to the seashore. At the beach, Michael imagines that he can see Coney Island, and just then, the body of a man, Eric, washes up on shore. Eric, an explorer who had been marooned atop Mt. Everest when the blast occurred, found his way across Asia and America by plane, and then finally ran out of gas and crashed. Schaeffer dies, and the group returns to the house. Eric explains that he wants to go to the city where there are food and luxury items, and is disgruntled with the other men's insistence on living the primitive life. Eventually, Eric insists that they go back to the city as they all have a seeming immunity to the radiation, but Michael argues that Roseanne, nearing her term, is not well enough to travel. Eric then displays his virulent racism toward Charles, saying that he cannot stand being so close to a black man, and the two fight. After Roseanne gives birth, Charles offers to leave the house in order to keep the peace. Michael says that they cannot make the same mistakes as those did before them, and he goes to speak to Eric, who promises that his outburst was only the result of tension. Michael asks Eric to join in the work, and Eric agrees, but then sits in the sun smoking cigarettes instead of working. As Michael declares his love for Roseanne one morning, a buzzard flies over head. Charles appears and tells Michael that Eric sabotaged the crops, but Michael, wishing to protect his loved one, tells Roseanne that it was an animal. Sometime later, Roseanne and Michael kiss, but Roseanne accidentally calls him "Steven," her husband's name, then runs away crying. That night, Eric goes to Roseanne's room and tells her that he is going to the city for a few days and that she should come with him to look for her husband. Roseanne hesitates but then decides to go, and the two plan to sneak out of the house and meet on the road. On his way out, Eric encounters a surprised Charles and stabs him to death. The next day, Michael discovers Charles' body, then finds the note that Roseanne left. In the city, Eric and Roseanne drive through burned-out streets, which are littered with skeletons. Roseanne goes first to her husband's former office, an architectural firm, and then to the waiting room at the hospital, where she was being x-rayed. There she discovers her husband's skeleton, shrieks in horror, and returns to Eric. After Eric announces that he has no intention of returning to the country house, he grabs Roseanne, who tries to flee. During the struggle, Eric notices signs of radiation poisoning on his arms and, howling in agony, runs away. Roseanne then makes her way back to the country house, and en route her baby dies. After Michael, who has gone out to search for Roseanne, finally catches up to her, they bury the infant. The couple goes back to the house, and Roseanne helps Michael to replant the crops and thus begin their new life together.