Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky's first American film is a romantic tale about an American war veteran whose dreams of his childhood sweetheart are countered by a less sunny reality.
John Savage stars as Ivan Bibic, who has returned home to a small town in Pennsylvania, having suffered a nervous breakdown as a P.O.W. During the war, he would dream about his fiancee back home, Maria Bosic (Nastassja Kinski), imagining their forthcoming perfect marriage. At one point, Ivan is told, You dreamed about her too long.
She lives in your dreams, not in your body. And it's true -- his dreams do not equal his reality. Maria and Ivan marry, but Ivan finds that he cannot make love to the flesh and blood Maria. Knowing she was actively pursued by men in town during the war, Ivan courages her to take lovers.
Maria does so, having affairs with another GI, Al Griselli (Vincent Spano), and a passing drifter named Clarence Butts (Keith Carradine). But after spending the night with Clarence, Maria becomes pregnant, and Ivan's love for her is sorely tested.