Adapted from Ellen Glasgow's novel, a woman runs off with her sister's husband and drives him to suicide before she self-destructs.
Asa Timberlake (Frank Craven) tells his wife Lavinia (Billie Burke) he is worried about their daughter Stanley marrying Craig. William Fitzroy (Charles Coburn) takes over the corporation from his brother Asa. Stanley (Bette Davis) tells Peter Kingsmill (Dennis Morgan) that she adores him. William gives his niece Stanley a check. Peter tells his wife Roy (Olivia de Havilland) he is going on a trip to do medical work. Roy asks if they can move to their own house, but he implies he wants to be free. Craig Fleming (George Brent) arrives, but Stanley says she is not going out with him and packs. Asa tells William that Stanley is missing, and Peter is gone too. Roy says they left together and vows to get what she wants. Stanley embraces Peter and says she bought a Victrola with her wedding check. Colored Parry (Ernest Anderson) tells Roy he bought a law book. Roy sees Craig in the park and says she is divorced. Craig is not working.
William complains that Stanley wrote asking for her car. Stanley and Peter get married and go out dancing, meeting Betty (Lee Patrick). Stanley and Peter quarrel. Parry works for lawyer Craig, who asks Roy to marry. William offers Craig work but expects him to give up his clients opposing William. Craig declines, and Roy agrees to marry him. Asa gets a call and says that Peter killed himself. Roy blames her sister Stanley and goes to comfort her. Stanley visits William and tickles him. He laughs at doctors and drinks with her. Stanley asks William about his will and says he owes her, because he took the business from her father. Stanley wants money to go away, but he invites her to live there. Stanley says no and goes to Craig with Peter's insurance policy, asking for a loan. She makes a date with Craig at a tavern. Disappointed Stanley drives her car and hits a woman and a child.
A police inspector says the child died and questions Stanley, who says that Parry had her car. Roy goes to Parry's mother Minerva (Hattie McDaniel), who says that Parry was at home. Roy tells Craig that Parry is innocent. Craig says he could not get Parry off and doubts that Stanley would lie. Roy asks Stanley to tell the truth, but Stanley calls her jealous. Craig asks Stanley for her story and takes her to visit Parry in jail. Stanley tells Parry to say he took the car. Craig and Roy try to get Stanley to tell the truth, and Asa says Stanley was not home. Craig says that Stanley was at the tavern and suggests she confess to police; but Stanley goes to William, who says he has only six months to live. Stanley flees police and crashes her car. Craig gets a call and tells Roy that her sister is dead.
This drama shows how a self-indulgent woman harms victims
around her, while her sister and a liberal lawyer learn they can
have a good relationship.