It was springtime in 1861, and Scarlett O’Hara, age 16, sits on the patio of her family’s Georgia ranch house with two suitors, who happen to be twins, Brent and Stuart Tarleton. The twins have shown interest and are both pursuing Scarlett, and she plays with them similarly as she plays with all young men. They engage in the raging war between the North and the South, where the boys believe that the war will begin any time from now. But Scarlett is not happy with the direction of the discussion, where they ultimately stop. The twins get Scarlett to guarantee them special treatment at a grill-and-dance the following day. To convince her, they disclose a piece of information to her: Ashley Wilkes, a son to another neighborhood ranch proprietor, is going to wed his cousin, Melanie. Scarlett is both startled and terrified: she needs Ashley to marry her and she is not entertaining the thought of him marrying another woman. After the uncomfortable news, the discussion appears to fade away a little, and the twins take their leave from the presence of Scarlett.
Scarlett agonizes over the news on the imminent marriage between Ashley and Melanie. She is persuaded that Ashley cherishes her. Scarlett hides her anguish in front of Mammy, the African American slave who took a central role in raising her. To see whether the news about Ashley is valid, she leaves the house to sit tight, waiting for her father to return home. Gerald O’Hara arrives, hopping the horse over fences in spite of the fact that he guaranteed his wife he would never do that again. Scarlett welcomes him and she guarantees not to disclose to her mother about Gerald's offenses. As they talk, her father says Ashley and Melanie are going to marry soon since they have engaged. While the Tarleton twins never saw the anguish in Scarlett, he can see this news troubling Scarlett. Gerald advises her to overlook Ashley in light of the fact that he and Scarlett would be totally mismatched should they ever get married. The Wilkes family is occupied with poems and music, yet Scarlett is reserved, down-to-earth and sensible. Gerald proposes to her that she weds one of her different suitors and offers to give her the family manor, Tara, when he passes on. Scarlett gets highly emotional and says she does not care at all in regards to Tara. This statement infuriates and upsets Gerald, who cherishes Tara more than anything with the exception of his wife.