powered by AFI
Because test pilot Jim Lane loves carousing almost as much as he loves flying, his partner, Gunner Morse, has to watch out for him. During a flight in a plane owned by Drake Aviation in which Jim is attempting to break the cross-country speed record, Jim has to make an emergency landing on a Kansas farm owned by Ann Barton's family. Ann and Jim are immediately attracted to each other, although each feigns disinterest. Jim and Ann spend the day together before Gunner arrives to fix the plane and although they have a good time, that evening Ann and her local "sweetheart" announce their engagement. The next day Jim leaves, but he comes back, and the two fly off to get married. Drake and Gunner are surprised and annoyed at the marriage, but Ann, whom Drake calls "Thursday" soon becomes an important part of their lives. Jim continues on the way he has, despite Gunner's warnings, and narrowly escapes death in an air race during which fellow pilot Greg Benson dies when his plane loses its wings and takes a nose dive. Ann now realizes that they are faced with three roads, all ending in doom, but she promises Gunner that she will stick with Jim no matter what. Jim keeps flying, blissfully ignorant of the devastating effect that his wrecklessness has on Ann and Gunner, as both become more and more fatalistic. On a flight to test the altitude potential of a military plane, Gunner rides along to help. As the plane reaches thirty thousand feet, the sandbags simulating bombs break loose during a tail-spin and Gunner is crushed. Jim refuses to bail out and is able to crash-land the plane, but Gunner dies, telling Jim that he has taken the easiest road. At home, Jim is confronted by an almost hysterical Ann, who says that she wished that he had died too. Jim then goes to Drake's office where Drake helps him realize that he loves Ann. Later Drake calls her to say that Jim will no longer want to fly because his heart is on the ground with her. A few years later, Jim is an army officer, training young pilots and Ann happily brings their little boy to visit the air field.