Edward Carney is a loudmouth who's gotten rich as a bookie. He thinks that money buys respect and happiness so he doesn't understand why his lonely young son isn't bowled over by expensive new toys. The kid instead clings to a ratty clown doll called Mr. Onion. Carney bullies the boy, taking away his doll, and sending the child into a catatonic state.
At an old decaying southern estate, a stranger and his son is caught hunting on the grounds. The two are invited in and the man reveals himself to be a local that was humiliated by the family and their friends for being poor as a child, and now, as State governor, plans to get back at them.