An affair of the heart begins when a newspaper woman finds a bottle washed up on the beach. In the bottle is a love letter from a sailor to his wife. How old is the letter and who were the lovers? These questions haunt Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright Penn) until she hears of another such letter and sets out in search of answers. What she finds is Garret Blake (Kevin Costner), a sailor and ship builder, whose life is haunted by the memory of his late wife. With the help of his father, Dodge (Paul Newman), Theresa shows Garret that he can live and love again.