Told in flashback, the story begins as Jackie Deanna Durbin, marries Southern aristocrat Robert Monette (Gene Kelly.) Unfortunately, Robert has inherited his family’s streak of violence and instability and soon drags Jackie into a life of misery. When her husband commits murder, Jackie is compelled by Robert’s equally degenerate mother (Gale Sondergaard) to cover up the crime. When Robert is arrested, Jackie, tormented by the love she still holds for her husband, runs away from the family home, changing her name and securing work as a singer in a New Orleans dive. Robert escapes from prison and makes his way to Jackie’s dressing room. Holding a reporter hostage, he threatens to kill both Jackie and the waylaid sailor who has been listening to her story.