Handsome, opportunistic, immoral. Travelling salesman Elmer Gantry (Burt Lancaster) is all this and more. So when he stumbles into a revival meeting and discovers that he can hustle money in a tent-show as easily as in a saloon, Gantry converts to evangelism. Joining forces with Sister Sharon Falconer (Jean Simmons), he delivers demon-bashing oratories that bring him fame and fortune. But when an old flame (Shirley Jones) re-appears, Gantry is forced to confront demons of a more worldly order – long-buried secrets that will make his "sanity" life a veritable Hell on Earth!