California surgeon Dr. Mike Parker (Rock Hudson) is away at a conference in New York, having a drink in a bar, when he is introduced to a caricaturist named Victor (George Sanders) in the company of Mike's German ex-wife Lisa (Cornell Borchers). Lisa, panicked, darts from the bar - and is run over by a car. As Mike treats her wounds and aids her recovery, the story of their love affair, marriage and painful parting is retold. Lisa, now living under an assumed name, went missing, presumed dead, eight years earlier after being trapped in the Russian quarter of post-war Vienna, where Mike was serving as a US Army medic. Visiting her father, whose home lies behind the Iron Curtain, Lisa is arrested for breaking a curfew. Word leaks back to the Allied side that her father is dead and, fearing the worst, Mike is persuaded to return to America to raise their young daughter Suzy (Shelley Fabares). Back in the present, a still frail and recuperating Lisa agrees to accompany Mike back to his California home, but Suzy gets hysterical, refusing to believe any suggestion that her mother can have come back into her life. Can the family be pieced back together, or is it best for everyone that they leave the past behind?