When her teenage sweetheart Ivan (John Savage) returns home from WWII, Maria (Nastassja Kinski) eagerly accepts his marriage proposal, looking forward to a lifetime of happiness. But her joy is short-lived when Ivan's dark past shrouds their wedding night in misery, driving a wedge between them that neither knows how to remove. Confused and depressed, Maria attempts to mend her true love's heart despite the advances of other suitors. But when a travelling musician (Keith Carradine) hits the right note, Maria struggles to justify her unfulfilling life. Is her passion too powerful to be contained within the sanctity of marriage?