In the five years since she left Winona, her hometown, Hilda Crane has been divorced twice and acquired quite a dubious reputation. She returns from New York to a scolding mother, who hopes Hilda will have the good sen...展开se to marry successful builder Russell Burns and finally settle down.
A former professor and lover, Jacques DeLisle, is still holding a grudge because Hilda left him for an athlete. Although she doesn't love Russell, she resists and resents Jacques' aggressive romantic advances. She accepts a proposal of marriage from Russell, who intends to build her a new house.
Warned by a friend about Russell's possessive mother, including her way of feigning a heart condition, Hilda declines a $50,000 bribe from Mrs. Burns to leave town. She leaves the old woman slumped in a chair and proceeds to the church for the wedding. Mrs. Burns was not pretending this time, however, and has died.
Months later, still living in her mother-in-law's house, Hilda has begun to drink while Russell becomes indifferent to her and morose. A day comes when Hilda's mother castigates her again and she can take no more. Hilda swallows a bottle of sleeping pills, intent on committing suicide. But she survives, and is cheered by Russell's promise to restore their love and start building their new house.