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As she is about to utter her wedding vows, young, wealthy Theo Scofield recalls how she came to be standing at the altar: At a New York officers' club, Theo is proposed to by pilot Lt. Tom Cochrane West, whom she has known for only three days. Theo, whose capricious mother Irene is working on her fourth marriage, agrees to marry Tom if he can prove that he was born under a Vermont maple tree, as he has claimed. Soon after, Theo receives a maple leaf in the mail from Tom, and over the objections of her mother, who thinks that the Boston-bred Tom is "stuffy," Theo declares herself engaged. Believing that Theo is not ready for marriage, Capt. Miles Lancing, her longtime admirer, advises her not to go through with the wedding, but she dismisses his concerns. Back at the wedding, Theo and Tom are pronounced man and wife, and Theo is reintroduced to her father, whom she has not seen in fifteen years. Like Miles, Mr. Scofield senses that Theo is marrying for the wrong reasons, but wishes her well. Later, during their idyllic Vermont honeymoon, Theo and Tom, who is to report for active duty soon, learn what they can about each other. While assuring Tom that she wants to grow old with him, Theo expresses doubts about her "staying power." Tom, however, insists that their marriage will last as long as they trust each other. After the honeymoon is cut short by the death of Tom's father, Tom learns that his commission has been made inactive. The Army asks Tom, a lens designer, to return to his father's optical company, because its new head, Joseph I. Murdock, Tom's alcoholic, childhood friend, has been deemed unreliable. Tom is greatly disappointed by the news, and Joe vows to improve his performance for Tom's sake. Theo, too, is taken aback by the change in plans, as she realizes that she must fulfill Tom's dreams of a cozy Boston home sooner than expected. Tom's other childhood friends, Sissy and Ted Mortimer, assure Theo that she will succeed, and a few months later, Theo announces that she is pregnant. Theo struggles to be a good mother to Tommy, Jr., but is consumed with worries and doubts. On the day of Tommy's first birthday, Theo runs into Miles and learns that he has been stationed in Boston. Theo invites him over, but he politely declines, and Theo, feeling rejected, rushes to see Tom at work. Theo bursts into Tom's lens laboratory and ruins the delicate experiment on which he has been working. Exhausted, Tom yells at her, then reveals that Joe has disappeared on an apparent "bender." After Tom tells her that he will be late for Tommy, Jr.'s birthday party, Theo goes to the local officers' club in a sexy gown and flirts with a receptive Miles. When Miles asks her why she came, Theo confesses that she wanted to make him "crawl," but is now feeling remorseful. Just then, Tom arrives at the club, furious that, after he had managed to get home early, he found Theo gone. Back at home, the couple continues to argue and misses celebrating Tommy's birthday. The next day, Theo goes to see Sissy for advice and runs into Joe, who is also searching for Sissy. Theo insists that the scruffy Joe return to work, but when they stop at Joe's apartment for a change of clothes, they find Sissy there. Unaware of Theo's presence, Sissy throws herself into Joe's arms, confirming Theo's suspicion that she is having an affair with him. Sissy's adultery depresses Theo, who feels that if the upright Sissy cannot be faithful, no one can. Later, Tom apologizes to Theo for mistrusting her, and Theo admits that she went to the club to feel "attractive" again. When Tom makes reference to Ted and Sissy's "ideal" marriage, Theo cries, but refuses to tell Tom why. The next day, Tom finds Joe at the office and learns that he had gone to Vermont to marry his secret sweetheart but left her at the altar because of a "barrier" from his past. Tom insists on taking Joe back to Vermont and drops by his apartment to tell Theo he is going. After the housekeeper informs him that Theo has gone to the movies, Tom leaves a loving note for her on top of her pajamas. Theo has actually gone to Miles's apartment, and when Miles finally returns home late that night, he finds her asleep on his couch. Miles demands to know her intentions, but she claims she is hopelessly confused, infuriating him. Theo returns home at daybreak and does not see Tom's note. When Tom shows up later, he tells her that Joe has married and he and his bride will be coming for dinner that night. Sissy and Ted are also scheduled to come, and Theo is unable to warn Sissy about Joe's new wife. Sissy is devastated by the news and angrily reveals the affair to all during dinner. Later, Tom deduces that Theo never saw his note and accuses her of lying. Theo confesses she went to Miles's and, while insisting that nothing happened, also admits she doesn't know her own heart. Jealous and heartbroken, Tom leaves, and six months later, the now-separated Theo goes to San Francisco to spend time with her father before finalizing her divorce in Reno. There, she recalls her past loves and her romantic days with Tom. When Miles suddenly appears and proposes, Theo says she can never marry again, having learned that marriage is not an institution, but a "private affair." Realizing that she still loves Tom, whose commission was reinstated, Theo asks Miles to track him down. Through a series of monitored messengers, Theo finally reaches Tom in New Caledonia and, to his great joy, tells him she wants to stay married.