Young Alma, the daughter of reverend Winemiller, feels the world around her shatter when she falls passionately in love with the young doctor John Buchanan. Incapable of changing John, who lives a life dedicated to instinct, love and sensuality, she herself is led to a tormenting inner transformation: she must become reconciled with her body and her desires, and her forsaken feminine nature. In an ironic but simultaneously tragic way, Williams is the observer of a hopeless love affair, and the vain efforts of two young people to meet half way. Alma will discover her hidden self and John will get to know his own limits. However, in the stifling environment of this small society in the American South, truth, if not well hidden, is always revealed when it is far too late.