A young widow with a son causes a man to lose his job at Christmas time and is wooed by him while her steady friend asks her to marry.
Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh) buys an electric train for $79.60 in a New York department store from Steve Mason (Robert Mitchum) and takes it home. Her son Timmy (Gordon Gebert) discovers the train and is happy. Connie's long-time boyfriend Carl Davis (Wendell Corey) helps her with the dishes and asks her to marry. Connie takes the train back the next day. Steve accuses her of being a commercial spy doing comparison shopping, but she says that she has a boy and that her husband died in the war. So Steve does not report her, but he loses his job. He offers to buy her lunch and takes her to the park to see a seal. He wants to build sail boats in California.
Steve helps Connie buy things, but while carrying them home they get separated. Steve eventually finds her apartment and meets Carl, who becomes a little jealous and quarrels with Timmy, who is not eager for his mother to marry him. When Timmy kicks Carl, he tries to discipline the boy. Connie reprimands Carl, and he leaves. Steve has a friendly talk with Timmy before he goes.
Carl bought a Christmas tree for Connie, and they work on decorating it. She promises to marry him on New Year's Day. Timmy gets the train as a Christmas present, and they realize it must be from Steve. Carl offers to pay for it, but Connie decides to pay Steve herself. She finds him in the park on Christmas morning, but he refuses to accept the money. She gives him a tie she had bought for Carl, and he gives his tie to a bum. A little girl gives Steve a little gift from the bum, salt and pepper shakers. Steve thinks he understands Connie.
Mr. and Mrs. Ennis visit Connie, and Timmy has been talking about Steve. The police call and ask Connie to come to the station because Steve was arrested. The lieutenant (Harry Morgan) says a man was robbed of the silver shakers and $120 in the park. Carl is an attorney and offers to represent Steve. The lieutenant asks questions with droll humor, and Connie explains what happened.
Steve is invited to the dinner. Mr. Ennis and Carl make heart-felt speeches, and Steve shocks everyone by saying that Connie should marry him, not Carl. She asks him to leave.
Timmy carries the train to return it at the store and eventually is able to tell his story to the owner (Henry O'Neill) and get the money back. Connie and Carl have the police searching for Timmy, who comes home. When Carl and Connie go to take the money to Steve, she wants to stay in the car. Carl presents their divorce case in legal language. Connie goes in, but Steve says he will not ask her to marry. He is taking the midnight train. In the final scene Connie and Timmy find Steve on the train, and they all embrace.
This romantic comedy portrays nice people who manage
to work out a triangle without any malice or violence. The feelings
of the child represent those of the mother she eventually comes