Nostalgia and tears. Dying Emily Hodge (Drummond) recalls her sometimes uncoventional life to her niece Virginia (Fisher) in a series of flashbacks. The young Emily (Holloman) is a smalltown Southern belle who gets pregnant by her boyfriend who goes off to WWII, never to return. Having scandalized her conventional parents (Harper, Cole), Emily agrees to give her baby up for adoption but refuses to go into hiding. Instead, she becomes a schoolteacher along with her black best friend, Wilma (Neal), who encourages Emily to get involved in the civil rights movement. Based on the novel by David Armstrong.