Ernie Souchak is a well-known investigative reporter for the Chicago Sun Times who is sent by his editor to the mountains of the Continental Divide until the aftershocks from his muckraking articles about a corrupt politician die down. The assignment is to do some features on Nell Porter, a recluse ornithologist who is specializing in studies on the American bald eagle.

Continental Divide is written by Lawrence Kasdan who is currently riding high on his screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark and his direction of Body Heat. This movie charts the love affair between two very different people. John Belushi's Ernie is a hard-nosed urban survivor who is like a fish out of water in the wilderness. Blair Brown's Nell is a self-sufficient and no-nonsense scientist who has little respect for city living. Despite their adversary positions, both of them see in the other a tenderness neither has known in another before.

Those expecting Belushi to play this character for laughs will be disappointed. But there is a convincing plot twist at the end of the story which gives cheer to those who seek a love relationship which won't slight the careers of either party. In fact, the finale is so neat that viewers may wonder why more couples haven't tried it.