After an absence of two years, Charles Wills returns to his favorite bar and reminisces about his love affair with Helen Ellswirth at the end of World War II. Charles was an army Lieutenant writing for Stars and Stripes at the time and she the daughter of a one-time rich man who has always lived a life of luxury. They are a study in contrasts - he is level-headed and serious while she is fun loving and carefree - but they eventually marry and Charles continues as a civilian reporter while writing the great American novel. His lack of success as a writer weighs heavily on him but but his fun-loving wife parties on. As time goes by they have a daughter but it doesn't change Helen's lifestyle. Growing ever more frustrated with his inability to get published, Charles also begins to drink heavily and he and Helen quickly grow apart. Following a tragedy, Charlie leaves but is now back in Paris not knowing what the future may hold.