The "one desire" of ex-gamblers Rock Hudson and Anne Baxter is to escape their shady former lives and settle down to respectability. Rock and Baxter move to a small town, with Hudson's younger brother (Barry Curtis) and an orphaned girl (Natalie Wood) in tow. Julie Adams, daughter of the town banker, set her sights on Hudson and tries to win him away from Baxter. Adams dies in a convenient-to-the-plotline fire, but everybody else lives happily ever after. Conrad Richter's novel Tracey Cromwell was the base for this 1890s soap opera, produced by Ross Hunter with a veneer of class that the material itself lacks.