Two rustic families, headed by patriarchs Laban Feather (Rod Steiger)and Pap Gutshall (Robert Ryan), are feuding. At first, it is comical, with just the sons of the two families playing tricks on each other. But soon the Feather boys decide to kidnap a girl. She turns out to be innocent bystander Roonie Gill, not the made-up girlfriend "Lolly Madonna." As events escalate, Zack Feather and Roonie fall in love and try to bring the others to their senses. Will Roonie discover Zack's dark secret, the reason for the painful feud between the two families which once were close friends?