Married entertainers (Ava Gardner and Robert Sterling) are forced to leave the showboat Cotton Blossom because of the wife's mixed blood. The captain's daughter (Kathryn Grayson) and gambler Gaylord Ravenal (Howard Keel) take over the act, fall in love, marry and leave the boat for Chicago. There, they live off his gambling earnings, which dry up fast. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein provide the score for this adaptation of the Broadway hit.

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