Based on the notorious novel by the Marquis De Sade, the story is that of a poor 18th century orphan girl who is "familiar with every nuance of misfortune". Rescued from certain death at the executioner's hand by a wealthy couple, Therese is persuaded to tell them her story of depravity as she struggles to maintain her virtue in a world of sin. Her kindly trusting nature continually gets her into trouble as her experiences range from being abused by her boss while working as a maid, to being attacked by travellers she saves from danger. She quickly learns that a spell in a monastery is no sanctuary, and she soon finds herself in the possession of a sadistic nobleman. Branded and beaten, she will ultimately discover her true identity.