Young Jenny Hager pushes a boy, Ephraim Poster, into a river knowing he cannot swim. She is prepared to let him drown until Judge Saladine happens to walk by, at which point Jenny jumps into the water and takes credit for saving the boy's life. Years later, Jenny has grown to be beautiful but equally disturbed and manipulative, though she hides her true self behind good deeds and a caring facade. Her goal in life is to find a wealthy husband and one rainy night she finds the perfect opportunity to manipulate her way into the home of the richest man in town, the much older Isaiah Poster. While Isaiah's son Ephraim is away at college, Jenny and Isaiah marry.