At 17 years of age, Leslie Hartop's parents decide the time has come for her to move out and make her way in the world. She moves in with the Hollands who live in a old mill. Mr. Holland doesn't use the mill per se and is a scrap dealer by profession. Mrs. Holland suffers from the dropsies and spends most of her time in bed either writing to their son, a soldier stationed in Germany, or reading letters he has written them. Leslie is a hard working girl, but also quite innocent. When Mr. Holland makes sexual advances, she submits but soon finds herself pregnant.