An award-winning film adaptation of the William Inge play. Hal Carter (William Holden) is an arrogant drifter who sets off dramatic fireworks when he visits a quiet Kansas town to see an old friend. Before long he has managed to steal Madge Owens (Kim Novak), the most attractive girl in town, away from his pal. Much of the drama takes place in the midst of the town's annual Labor Day picnic. Among the many other memorable characters in the film are a spinster school teacher who desperately longs for the security of marriage, and Madge's jealous younger sister, Millie.