When a man dies under suspicious circumstances, the law must decide if it was murder or an accident. Francis Macomber (Robert Preston) is a wealthy, carefree gentleman who hires Robert Wilson (Gregory Peck), an expert hunter, as his guide when he sets off on a safari in Kenya. Francis' wife Margaret (Joan Bennett) regards her husband as a fool and a coward, and before long, she develops a strong attraction to Robert -- which she does not bother to keep secret. However, Robert informs her that as a matter of personal ethics, he would not consider becoming involved with her. After several weeks on the African savannah, Francis feels himself changing; he's developed a new bravery and sense of confidence, and as a test of himself, he one day stands in the path of a charging buffalo as he prepares to shoot. However, shots ring out from behind him, and Francis falls dead. Margaret insists that she was trying to kill the animal before it could trample Francis and missed, but given her well-documented contempt for her husband, the widow finds herself on trial for murder. The Macomber Affair was based on the short story "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" by Ernest Hemingway, though director Zoltan Korda found it necessary to rework the material (with the input of the featured cast) in order to appease the industry censors of the day.
by Mark Deming synopsis