When Ruth's father, Jacob, forbids her from marrying her sweetheart, David Beale, the youngsters are devastated. Instead, Jacob promises his daughter to the dour, self-righteous village pastor, Edwin Allerton. When a telegram arrives to tell David's family that he has been killed in battle, Ruth is heartbroken, but desperate to leave her family home, she agrees to marry Edwin. Despite the loveless marriage, her vows are sacred to her, and she is delighted to give birth to a son. But before long, neighbours begin to gossip unjustly about the child's paternity. When her jealous husband threatens baby Andrew's very life, Ruth knows she must do whatever it takes to protect her beloved child.