Ike Graham (Richard Gere) is a New York newspaper columnist with a problem - his deadline is an hour away, his ex-wife is his boss and his writer's block is working overtime. Retreating to his favorite watering hole to "brainstorm," Ike hears about a young woman in rural Maryland named Maggie (Julia Roberts) who, apparently, loves being engaged, but who has very cold feet about getting married. Intrigued, Ike composes a column about Maggie, beginning a chain of events which leads him to Hale, Maryland, her hometown.

Maggie Carpenter also has a problem - Ike Graham. Furious with the column and its author, she plans to even the score with him. Ike eventually discovers there is much more to Maggie than just a problem with commitment; and he ends up with the story of a lifetime.

In addition to working in a hardware store, Maggie is an inventor who makes things out of industrial parts and stays in shape by kick boxing in her home workshop.

Ike Graham (Gere) is a definite fish out of water when he arrives in Hale to prove that what he has written in his newspaper column about Maggie is true. The cynical New Yorker causes quite a stir among the townspeople, who soon learn he is the author of the column about Maggie. Most displeased with Ike's arrival on her turf is Maggie herself. She is about to make her fourth attempt at marriage, and has been embarrassed and deeply hurt by this stranger's very public expose.

Through the course of the film, as Maggie exacts her revenge against Ike, and while he infuriates her by ingratiating himself to her friends and family, the two begin to learn more about each other and about themselves.


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