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1918 Bergen, Norway, and handsome Navy Lieutenant Eric Andersen meets and marries spirited “Bus’ Holmboe. They emigrate to booming 1920s California, where Eric’s film industry job brings in money for stock investments which promise to make him rich. The Depression strikes, they lose everything and, with two young daughters, wind up in 1930s New York, where they’re soon on the dole. WPA work fails to restore Eric’s pride, he broods and drinks and the couple split. Eric heads for Newfoundland war work, as Bus finds work too, reveling in her newfound independence. In her heart, though, she still loves Eric.

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