A couple with jobs and apartment in NYC, decide to move to his mom's farm, get married and have the baby there. They can also make the changes to get a better price for the farm. However, there's something seriously wrong with his mom.
Helen is the young girlfriend of good-looking Jackson Baring. When Helen gets pregnant and marries Jackson, they decide to move to his family farm, Kilronan, and have a baby there. But his mother Martha, who lives there, starts to do weird things, and obviously she's not too friendly to Helen.
Handsome Jackson Baring, heir to grand Southern horse farm Kilronan, choose to build a life in New York while it's run by his domineering mother Martha. When Jackson returns to present his Yankee bride Helen, the young couple gets lured into staying for the Christmastide, then to help Martha save the farm from financial trouble or at least until Jackson son's birth. As cripple grandmother Alice Baring suggested, Martha is playing a ruthless game, just as she lied about the seven year old, traumatized Jackson's father Jack's deadly fall.
- Helen and Jackson live together in New York City. At the beginning of the film, the two are driving towards the Kentucky farmhouse, Kilronan, where Jackson grew up, primarily to introduce Helen to Jackson's mother, Martha (Lange).
After returning to New York, Helen discovers she is pregnant. When she informs Jackson of this, he asks her to marry him and she accepts. The wedding is held at Kilronan, where Helen meets Jackson's paternal grandmother, Alice, who tells Helen she doesn't trust Martha.
After returning to New York apartment, Helen is assaulted by a man who steals her locket. When Helen says she's pregnant, he cuts her abdomen and leaves. The fetus was not injured.
Martha arrives and says she wants to sell Kilronan because she cannot run it alone. Helen tells Jackson she wants to move to Kentucky and in with Martha for a year and help renovate the land. Jackson tells Helen his father died in that house when he was seven and he blames himself because he ran into his father pushing him down the stairs. Jackson also tells Helen that his father had been cheating on Martha with Robin Hayes. Helen says they should go back so Jackson can face his "old ghosts".
The couple move in with Martha who attempts to divide the couple. Suspicious, Helen talks to Alice who tells her that Jackson is wrong about his father's death. The father landed on a nail puller at the bottom of the stairs, crushing his sternum, which, according to news reports was a freak accident.
Helen tells Jackson that Martha is tearing their marriage apart. He agrees to go back to New York and tells his mother.
That evening, Martha bakes a cake for Helen laced with pitocin, a labor inducer. Helen wakes up the next morning, feeling strange. She discovers a baby room set up by Martha and finds the locket that was stolen from her in New York. When Martha unexpectedly enters the room, Helen tries unsuccessfully to escape.
Reluctantly, with Martha's assistance, Helen gives birth. Martha leaves the room to answer a phone call from Jackson. She tells him that everything is okay, but when Helen screams in pain, Martha hangs up.
Helen begs Martha to hand her the baby, but Martha ignores her, telling the baby she is his mother. Martha tries to inject morphine in Helen's arm, but Helen knocks the syringe away. When Martha retrieves it, she hears Jackson's footsteps. In a scramble, she quickly cleans up, meeting Jackson at the door. She tells him to leave Helen alone, as he has no idea what she's been through. The two leave Helen asleep, with Martha giving the baby to Jackson.
That night, Martha enters Helen's bedroom with the syringe. She finds Jackson in a chair next to the bed. Despite his mother's insistence that he return to bed, he stays. The next morning, Helen awakens to see Jackson. She tells Jackson to ask Martha to make breakfast.
At breakfast, Helen enters the house with an object in her bag. Helen says that it is the object that killed Jackson's father. She slowly proceeds to tell Jackson the whole truth about his father's murder. She reveals that Robin Hayes, the "woman" Jackson believed his father had cheated on his mother with, was actually a male horse wrangler, with whom Martha had an affair. Helen also shows Jackson a bruise resulting from when his mother tried to murder her so she can have him and their son to herself. Jackson's father was planning to leave Martha when he discovered the affair but Martha ended up killing him. Martha made Jackson think he did so she can bind him to her for the rest of his life. Jackson tells Martha that he never wants to see her again. Martha claims that Helen is only doing this because she is jealous of her. In utter disgust, Helen slaps Martha to the ground. Helen and Jackson then leave with their baby while Martha sobs on the floor.
In the final scene, the couple visit Alice before they leave for good, presenting her with her great-grandson.