After a vacation in Hawaii, Joanna “Joey” Drayton returns to her parents’ home in San Francisco bringing her fiancé, the highly-qualified Dr. John Prentice, to introduce him to her parents. Her mother, Christina Drayton, owns an art gallery and her father, Matt Drayton, is the publisher-editor of the newspaper, The Guardian. Joey was raised with a liberal education and intends to marry Dr. John Prentice, a Black widower who needs to fly to Geneva that evening to work with the World Health Organization. Joey invites John’s parents to have dinner with her family and the couple flies from Los Angeles to San Francisco without knowing that Joey is white. Christina also invites the liberal Monsignor Ryan, who is a friend of her family. Throughout the day and evening, the families discuss the problems of their son and daughter.