Ann Elliot, the daughter of a fashionable, but vain father and possessed of an equally snobbish sister, fell many years ago in love with a man of little fortune but much ambition. Her family and friends convinced her that such a marriage was imprudent and she was persuaded into breaking off her engagement to the man who then went off to sea. Now, years of her father and sister’s extravagance have taken their toll and the family are forced to leave their estate due to their debts.
Her former suitor, now Captain Frederick Wentworth, returns after eight years. He is now successful and rich and a most eligible match while she is now poor and forced to cater to her families idle whims. Captain Wentworth is still hurt by Anne Elliot’s rejection of him years before, and now pursues the headstrong and frivolous Louisa Musgrove. Anne Elliot, on the other hand, is being pursued by a handsome cousin, Mr. Elliot who will inherit the estate from her father. He is attractive and accomplished and seems everything that her father and sister would wish for in a match, but Anne still pines for Captain Wentworth.
While at Lyme Regis, Louisa Musgrove falls and hurts her head on a stone. Her near death experience makes Captain Wentworth terribly shocked by the events. He feels responsible for allowing her to play such a dangerous game on the steps. She remains to recover with the Harvilles who live near by and Captain Benwick. Through being thrown together, Captain Benwick and Louisa soon fall in love and she no longer has interest in Captain Wentworth.
Anne rejects her cousin’s attentions and soon both she and Captain Wentworth discover that they are both still in love with each other and are able to reconcile past differences and make a future together. They are finally united after eight long hard years apart.