Cole Webster, a young man from Texas in 1951, has visions of a business career, but is financially unable to get a formal education to succeed in the field. He enlists in the air force to earn GI Bill benefits. After basic training and military schooling, Cole is assigned to a reserve training center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cole meets USO hostess Laura Miller at a gala event sponsored by the Schlitz Brewery. She is a widow whose husband was killed in the Korean War. Cole falls in love with Laura immediately as they danced. Their love blossoms, and they have several sexual encounters. Cole and Laura marry, but a tragedy occurs, and Cole is distraught, unable to recover for the next year. He finally meets Ilona Masters at a house party, and slowly falls in love with her. They make a trip to Texas, where their love is consummated, and Cole finally finds the love he needs to fill the void that Laura left in him.