When a young novitiate named Maria proves too spirited for convent life in 1930s Austria, she is sent by her abbess to serve as a governess to seven children of a widowed naval officer, Captain Georg von Trapp. Her love of music and her charisma liven up the strict home, and the children come to adore her. Captain von Trapp feels differently at first, but soon Maria captures his heart too. Maria realizes convent life may not be her path. She and Georg fall in love and marry.
Following their honeymoon, they return home to find that their beloved Austria has been invaded by the Nazis who demand that the captain immediately serve in their navy. Refusing to concede, the family and their closest friends create a plan to escape to safety through the mountains and into Switzerland.