Emily Jenkins is a social worker living in Oregon, who is assigned to investigate the family of Lillith Sullivan, a troubled ten-year-old whose school grades have declined while an emotional rift with her parents, Edward and Margaret Sullivan, has emerged. Emily suspects that the parents have been abusing Lillith for her lack of obedience in life. Emily's suspicion is confirmed when Edward and Margaret are planning to incinerate Lillith by gassing her alive in the oven at home. Emily saves Lillith with the help of Detective Mike Barron. Lillith is originally ordered to be sent to the children's home, but she begs Emily to look after her instead. With the agreement of the board, Emily is assigned to take care of Lillith until a suitable foster family comes along. In the meantime, Edward and Margaret are placed in a mental institution for attempted murder.