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Critically wounded while fighting in the Korean War, young American Army lieutenant Jim Sterling is transported to a Japanese hospital, where he is nursed back to health by a Japanese nurse named Tae Shimizu. Tae and Jim fall in love, and Jim later visits her grandfather Eitaro and asks him to bless their marriage. Eitaro objects to the marriage because he feels that there are too many differences between the Anglos and the Japanese. Hoping to scare Jim off, Eitaro plays a trick on him, but Jim and Tae see through the ploy and insist on going through with the marriage. With his new bride at his side, Jim returns to his home in Salinas, California, and introduces her to his parents, his brothers, Art and Ted, and Art's wife Fran. Fran, who still carries a torch for Jim, becomes jealous of Tae. A short time later, Tae meets the Hasagawas, a second generation Japanese American family who own the land next to the Sterlings'. While trying hard to gain acceptance by the Sterlings, Tae falls victim to Fran's plots to discredit her. One day, Tae overhears Mrs. Sterling's friend, Milly Shafer, tell Mrs. Sterling that she is uneasy about Tae's presence because her son was killed in the war. Although Milly's remarks upset her, Tae decides to remain silent about the affair. The following day, while Tae and Ted are out picking mushrooms, Tae has a talk with Shiro Hasagawa, who tells her that his family was sent to an internment camp during World War II, and that the memory of the camp has embittered his father and made him resent all Anglo Americans. Later, Fran, still trying to make trouble for Tae, spreads word that she was seen alone with Shiro. Tae finds herself at the center of attention once again when, at a party, Jim's drunken friend, Woody Blacker, insults her by calling her a "geisha." Jim punches Woody, and a fistfight ensues. Time passes, and Tae, now pregnant, looks forward to starting a family in the house they plan to build on Sterling land. Soon after Tae gives birth to a baby boy, her troubles return when an anonymous and malicious letter is circulated through town claiming that the father of the child is Shiro. The accusations upset Jim, who makes plans to leave Salinas after telling Tae about the letter. Tae, however, is so devastated by the false accusations that she takes the baby and leaves without Jim. While Tae takes refuge at the Hasagawas, who later send her to live with relatives in Monterey, Jim concludes that Fran wrote the slanderous letter. Jim wrings a confession from Fran, after which Art strikes her. Jim then convinces Shiro that he is genuinely in love with Tae and that he wants to repair his marriage. As soon as Shiro tells him where he can find his wife, Jim sets out for Monterey. Tae tries to run away from Jim when she first sees him, and then contemplates jumping into the ocean from a nearby cliff. Jim prevents her from doing so, however, when he tells her that he truly loves her and is ready to start a new life in their new house.