A local country boy, Noah Calhoun, falls in love with a rich young woman after seeing her at a carnival and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.
At a modern-day nursing home, an elderly man, Duke, reads a romantic story from his notebook to a fellow patient.
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Noah suffers a heart attack and is sent to the hospital while Allie is sent to a dementia ward in the same hospital.
Noah visits Allie's room in the middle of the night causing her to remember him again and proceeds to remind her of her illness, though he reassures her that they can do anything with the love they share.
In 1940, Seabrook Island, South Carolina, poor quarry worker Noah Calhoun sees 17-year-old heiress Allison "Allie" Hamilton at a carnival and they have a summer love affair.
Noah takes Allie to an abandoned house that he intends to buy for them.