Gone With The Wind is a classic tail of the 19th-century American South, where the film tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, from her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, to her marriage to Rhett Butler. Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, the story is told from the perspective of white Southerners. The leading roles are portrayed by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett), Clark Gable (Rhett), Leslie Howard (Ashley), and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie). On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, Scarlett O’Hara lives at Tara, her family’s cotton plantation in Georgia, with her parents and two sisters. Scarlett learns that Ashley Wilkes—whom she secretly loves—is to be married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and the engagement is to be announced the next day at a barbecue at Ashley’s home, the nearby plantationTwelve Oaks.
At the Twelve Oaks party, Scarlett secretly declares her feelings to Ashley, but he rebuffs her by responding that he and Melanie are more compatible. Scarlett is incensed when she discovers another guest, Rhett Butler, has overheard their conversation; nevertheless, a smitten Rhett promises Scarlett he will keep her secret. The barbecue is disrupted by the declaration of war and the men rush to enlist. As Scarlett watches Ashley kiss Melanie goodbye, Melanie’s younger brother Charles proposes to her. Although she does not love him Scarlett consents and they are married before he leaves to fight.