A storm upon the moors. Haunted by memories of Cathy, Heathcliff rages through the night. Finally the storm dies down and a memory returns, of Cathy and Heathcliff in their youth, a memory of innocent and trusting love.
A memory takes form in the mists of the kitchen at Wuthering Heights, where two children play. Cathy and Hindley are waiting for their father and when he enters they rush to him in search of presents. They find nothing but a ragged child, hidden beneath his cloak. They both examine the new addition to the family – Cathy with fascination, but Hindley with dismay.
As they grow older Cathy and Heathcliff spend all of their time together upon the desolate moors, but amid the untamed brutality of the landscape there is an elemental bond between them. Hindley becomes master of Wuthering Heights on his father's death and takes his revenge upon Heathcliff, delighting in his degradation and humiliation. It is only with Cathy, on the moors, that Heathcliff can find happiness.
Upon the moor they discover Thrushcross Grange, the home of the Lintons and an oasis of tamed tranquillity in such a desolate landscape. A party is taking place and Heathcliff and Cathy cannot resist making fun of the children, Edgar and Isabella Linton. They are discovered, but as they run away Cathy trips and is unable to stand. Edgar is enchanted and, as he helps her to her feet, Heathcliff is forgotten.
Cathy is convalescing at Thrushcross Grange. Edgar is falling in love with her and she, in turn, is captivated by his prettiness and refinement. Heathcliff remains alone with only thoughts of Cathy and questions her as to her long absence. As she leaves for home she is sorrier to leave the riches and luxury she has enjoyed during her stay than she is to leave Edgar. On her return to Wuthering Heights she regards its gloomy interior with dismay, but when Heathcliff steps out she greets him, laughing. However, with Edgar at Cathy's side, Heathcliff cannot conceal his jealousy and after a struggle with Hindley he runs from the house. Cathy attempts to follow him, but he has gone and she has chosen her destiny.
It is Cathy and Edgar's wedding day and in the midst of the festivities an unexpected guest arrives. Heathcliff has returned – richly dressed and genteel. As Cathy and Heathcliff are left alone, the rest of the world ceases to exist – they are back on the moors again. As Edgar returns Cathy remembers she is married and slips from Heathcliff's grasp.
At Wuthering Heights Hindley is drinking heavily and gambling away huge sums of money. Heathcliff gives money to Hindley, allowing him to fall deeper into debt. As Hindley becomes more desperate he signs Heathcliff's note, losing not only the game, but Wuthering Heights as well.
Isabella arrives at Wuthering Heights to return Heathcliff's riding crop. He greets her with an icy warmth. The charm he displays grows more aggressive, but when Isabella becomes hesitant Heathcliff invites her to leave. Rather than return to the loneliness and tedium of her life at Thrushcross Grange, Isabella submits to him.
Cathy is sitting in the garden at Thrushcross Grange when she sees Heathcliff and Isabella enter the grounds. Heathcliff kisses Isabella and Cathy jealously confronts him. Heathcliff angrily accuses her of betraying their love, making it clear that he will not give up Isabella and means to have revenge.
Left alone, Cathy sadly contemplates her current life and that of her carefree youth, spent on the moors with Heathcliff. Drawn, irresistibly, back to the moors she is caught up in the gathering storm and comes face-to-face with Heathcliff. Suddenly the anger is gone, replaced by love. When they are discovered by Isabella, Cathy races from the scene and Heathcliff turns the full violence of his rage on Isabella.
The night spent on the moors in the rainstorm has left Cathy gravely ill. A grief-stricken Edgar finally shows all the love and passion missing, until now, from his life. As he leaves to get the doctor, Heathcliff enters the bedchamber through a window.
He gathers her up in his arms and they embrace one another fiercely as he rains kisses down upon her face. As Edgar returns Cathy collapses and Heathcliff hands her back to her husband.
Heathcliff is back upon the moor. An old man, he is desperate to embrace death and be reunited with Cathy. He has lived a lifetime without her. Finally his tired heart gives way and he falls to his knees with his head to the heavens. As snow begins to fall the youthful lovers return. The anger of the past is buried as, liberated from anger and betrayal, they are reunited in their innocence and love.