Sean Thornton (John Wayne) is an American boxer who swears off fighting after he accidentally kills an opponent in the ring. Returning to the Irish town of his youth, he reclaims his family's homestead and falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara). When she insists Sean Conduct his courtship in a proper Irish manner, he has to take on matchmaker Michaeleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitsgerals) as their chaperone and face her brother Squire "Red" Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen). Will refuses to consent to their marriage, or to honor the tradition of paying a sowry to the husband, but Sean couldn't care less about that,. When Mary Kate accuses him of being a coward for not standing up to her brother and walks out on him. Sean is finally ready to take matters in his own hands. The resulting fistfight erupts into the longest brawl ever filmed, followed by one of the memorable reconciliations in movie history!