During 1850, in the gold fields of Australia, the wealthy Sir Percival Glyde is murdered by the hammering of a tent peg through his ear. Tod Slaughter assumes the identity of Sir Percival's estate in London but discovers that it is mortgaged to the bank for £315,000. Cheated of his ill-gotten gains he schemes a marriage to Laurie Fairlie. His devilish plan is to murder his new wife and substitute her with the deranged and dying daughter of real Sir Glyde. But will his double deception be uncovered? The film is largely acknowledged as the best adaptation of Wilkie Collins 'The Woman in White'.