In this experimental play, first produced in 1928, Eugene O'Neill bares the inner souls of his characters by having them speak their thoughts as well as their dialog. Nins Leeds, the daughter of an Ivy League professor, is devastated by the loss of her fiance in World War I. Ignoring the unconditional love of the novelist Charlie Marsden, she rebounds by marrying an amiable fool, Sam Evans, in the hope that a child will give meaning to the marriage. Nina is thus devastated when she learns a secret know only to Sam's mother- insanity runs in the family and could be inherited by any child of Sam's. At the mother's behest, Nina decides on a "scientific" solution; she will conceive a child with the physician Ned Darrell and let Sam believe he is the father. The plan backfires when the intimacy between Nina and Darrell results in their falling passionately in love. Twenty years later, only Nina and Darrell know the true parentage of young Gordon Evans, just reaching manhood.