A passionate romance, starring Ava Gardner as a beautiful heiress driven to extreme lengths when her dreams of true love are cruelly thwarted. New Orleans, the 1800's: Barbara Beaurevel (Ava Gardner) inherits a fortune from her grandmother, a woman with a notorious reputation. Barbara pledges to use the money for good works but her noble intentions are quickly tested... Barbara's in love with Dr. Mark Lucas (Robert Mitchum); when he returns to the city with a new bride, Corinne, Barbara becomes desperate. She pays her wicked cousin Paul to seduce Corinne, hoping Mark will then abandon his wife. But when Corinne is murdered, Mark is blamed. Only Barbara can save him but she could lose everything if she does.