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Yale University law student Cole Porter's studies suffer because of his interest in the theater. During the 1914 Christmas holidays, Cole travels home to Indiana with his sympathetic law professor, Monty Woolley, and his friend, Ward Blackburn. Also visiting the Porter home are Cole's cousin Nancy and her roommate, the well-to-do Linda Lee. At home, Cole tells his disapproving grandfather Omer that he does not intend to return to Yale, but will instead try to earn a living as a songwriter. Upon returning to the city, Cole and Monty put together a theatrical show called See America First , starring Cole's friend, Gracie Harris. Nancy, Ward and Linda are in the audience on opening night, but Cole's mother remains in Indiana with his grandfather, who refuses to come. The Lusitania is sunk by the Germans the same night, and Cole's show closes after one performance. Cole then joins the French army and is injured. While recuperating in a French hospital, he encounters Linda, who is working there as a nurse. In an effort to ease Cole's despondency, Linda buys a piano for the hospital and Cole recovers enough to write "Night and Day." Linda proposes that Cole join her in a villa on the Riviera, and although Cole loves Linda, he explains that he does not want to take her money anymore than he wanted to take his family's money and intends to return to America to work on his own. In New York, Cole takes a job playing the piano in a music store. Tired of trying to sell the same old songs, Cole's partner, singer Carole Hill, sings one of his compositions, and encouraged by its warm reception, Cole and Monty, who is now working as an actor, produce another show, The New Yorkers . This show is an enormous hit, as is Cole's following show. Eventually Cole is offered the opportunity to write a show in England. There he once again meets Linda, whom he has never stopped loving, and they marry. Immediately after the wedding, Cole and Linda return to New York, where Cole goes into production on yet another show. Cole continues to promise Linda that they will take a trip together, but as soon as one show is completed, he begins another. Finally, Linda becomes tired of Cole's promises and leaves for Europe alone. When Cole's mother telephones with the news that his grandfather is dying, Cole immediately flies to Indiana, and before Omer dies, he and Cole are reconciled. A disheartened Cole stays on in Indiana and, during a storm, is severely injured when he is thrown by a horse. The injury aggravates Cole's war wounds, and he loses the use of his legs. Before he undergoes a long series of operations, Cole forbids Monty to tell Linda about his injury. Later, Cole attends a tribute at Yale. Monty arranges for Linda to surprise him there, and the couple is reunited.