Good girls Merritt, Melanie, Tuggle and Angie – all students at mid-western Penmore University – are planning on going to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for spring break to get away from the mid-western snow despite not having much money to spend once there. On the drive down, they admit their real purpose is to go where the boys are.
A young novelist, Richard Harland, meets beautiful Ellen Berent on a train where they fall in love and are soon married. When tragedies take first his handicapped young brother, then his unborn son from him, Harland gradually realises that his wife’s insane jealousy may be the cause of the tragedies in his life. Yet another shock awaits them all, as Ellen’s emotions become uncontrollable.
Vittles, songs and dance are amply ladeled out when Judy Garland headlines The Harvey Girls, a joyous musical slice of Americana celebrating the restaurants that brought extra helpings of civilization to Old West rail passengers.
A young cowboy, whose dedication to the principles of peace and reason has earned him a reputation for cowardice, overcomes his psychological aversion to violence after his elder brother unjustly censures him for not joining in a foolhardy gunfight in which their youngest brother is killed.
Henry J. Tyroone leaves Texas, where his oil wells are drying up, and arrives in New York with a lot of oil money to play with in the stock market. He meets stock analyst Molly Thatcher, who tries to ignore the lavish attention he spends on her but …
Drifter Cole Harden is accused of stealing a horse and faces hanging by self-appointed Judge Roy Bean, but Harden manages to talk his way out of it by claiming to be a friend of stage star Lillie Langtry, with whom the judge is obsessed, even though he has never met her. Tensions rise when Harden comes to the defense of a group of struggling homesteaders who Judge Bean is trying to drive away.
Mary Marshall, serving a six year term for accidental manslaughter, is given a Christmas furlough from prison to visit her closest relatives, her uncle and his family in a small Midwestern town. On the train she meets Zach Morgan, a troubled army sergeant on leave for the holidays from a military hospital. Although his physical wounds have healed, he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is subject to panic attacks. The pair are attracted to one another and in the warm atmosphere of the Christmas season friendship blossoms into romance, but Mary is reluctant to tell him of her past and that she must shortly return to prison to serve the remainder of her sentence.