It’s 1946. New Yorkers Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas get lost in the fog on a hunting expedition in the Scottish Highlands. As the dawn breaks, they hear distant singing, and stumble into bright daylight in the village of Brigadoon – which is not on any map. At first, Tommy and Jeff are mystified by the villagers’ 18th century garb as the villagers go to market, but they are soon charmed by the peaceful, joyous locals. Romantic liaisons emerge: Tommy, haunted by the recent war and engaged back in New York, falls terribly in love with headstrong young Fiona MacLaren, while Jeff enjoys a harmless flirtation with the village bawd Meg Brockie. It’s also the wedding day of Fiona’s young sister Jean, who is marrying the most beloved young man of the village, the charismatic Charlie Dalrymple.
By late afternoon, after a day filled with charm, beauty and excitement, Tommy and Jeff learn the truth from town elder Mr. Lundie: Brigadoon appears for a single day only once every hundred years. At midnight, the town and its residents will vanish into the Highland mists, only to reappear a century later.
That night at the wedding, there is a great celebration. Harry Beaton, Jean’s rejected suitor, tries to dance with the bride and is pulled away by the Villagers. In a fury, he threatens to leave Brigadoon. It’s then that Tommy and Jeff realize the complicated truth: if anyone succeeds in leaving Brigadoon, the town and the people in it will be lost forever. In a chase to bring Harry back into the Village, he is accidentally killed by Jeff. As midnight approaches, Tommy is forced by the tragedy and the pending disappearing village to choose between his love for Fiona and returning to the only world that he knows and his New York City fiance. Tommy sadly chooses to return to the modern world.
Months later in New York, Tommy is haunted by his memories of Brigadoon and Fiona. With renewed determination he finally renounces both his fiance and his modern life, and he and Jeff venture back into the Scottish Highlands to search for the now-vanished Brigadoon. At the final curtain, Mr. Lundie appears in the mist, “awakened” by the call of Tommy’s love for Fiona, to lead Tommy back to Brigadoon, Fiona – and into a life with her in eternity.