Thérèse has married less for love than for convenience, but it is not long before the casual disinterest shown her by her arrogant husband, Bernard, sets her mind in motion. Life is easy at first, as Bernard's pinewood estates keep them both in the lap of luxury. But when Thérèse's best friend Anne, who also happens to be Bernard's younger sister, falls madly in love with a handsome young Portuguese man, Thérèse begins to see what she has been missing in her life. Corralled by Bernard's family into persuading Anne to forego her planned nuptials, she begins to see first-hand the awesome power of passionate love, as Anne will go to any length to keep her lover by her side. Soon, Thérèse begins her own fight against the oppressive Desqueyroux family.