Set in 1944 Colorado, The Magic of Ordinary Days is the story of a young woman, Livy Dune (played by Keri Russell), who became pregnant before marriage. Her father, Rev. Dunne, decided to deal with the situation, by arranging a marriage to a shy farmer through another preacher. The groom, Ray Singleton (played by Skeet Ulrich), lives on a remote farm and is very different than Livy. Ray focuses on what is close to him: his family, his land, today. Livy thinks on a much grander scale: the world, ancient civilizations, far away places.
Ray's farm utilizes the help of Japanese Americans from a nearby Japanese American internment camp to help work the farm. Livy befriends two well-educated Japanese American women who were working the farm, Flora and Rose (Tania Gunadi and Gwendoline Yeo). She finds comfort and familiarity in their friendship. Livy is polite and civil to her new husband and his sister Martha (Mare Winningham), but she harbors feelings for the father of the baby, a World War II soldier, and feelings of guilt for the pregnancy. Ray, however, is caring, patient, and supportive of Livy, but the fact that she does not want him hurts him deeply. Slowly over time, the two come to understand and love each other, and appreciate that though they are different, neither is better or worse than the other.