In Regency times, an aristocrat’s love for her less fortunate friend is repaid by jealousy, treachery and murder
A gorgeous debutante, Clarissa Richmond, is under obligation to enter into marriage with the wealthy Marquis of Rohan. Rohan is not in love with Clarissa, but he wants an heir to his title - an ambition that is fulfilled when Clarissa presents him with a son.
On the way to the theatre to see an old friend, Hesther, Clarissa is waylaid by a highwayman who demands a lift to the theatre that she is attending - the highwayman is, in fact, a young actor called Peter Rokeby.
Hesther comes to live with Clarissa, but she becomes a cuckoo in the nest when Rohan falls for her charms and she tries to oust Clarissa from the household.