Scene from the film Carousel
scene from the film CAROUSEL

In a small coastal town in Maine, a young mill worker Julie (Shirley Jones) is fired by the rich mill owner after being out after curfew on a date with by carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae), who loses his job due to the jealousy of the older woman owner of the carnival. The star-crossed lovers marry, but Billy drinks and is belligerent towards Julie. When she becomes pregnant, wishing to provide for his child, Billy participates in a robbery gone wrong and dies, ending up somewhere outside heaven itself.

In Rogers & Hammerstein's follow-up to their debut musical Oklahoma!, Billy Bigelow has waived his right to go back to Earth for a day. However, when he learns that there is a problem with the family he left behind — namely  his wife Julie and the child he never met — he wants to go back to Earth to assist in rectifying the problem. Before he may go, he has to get permission from the gatekeeper by telling him his life story.

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