Taken in by her grandparents to ease the pressure on her poverty-stricken family, Katie Benfield knows she's one of the lucky ones. Even so, she dreams of a better life and of pursuing a nursing career. Despite many hardships, Katie achieves her goal but tragedy strikes Winton Colliery and both her grandfather and Katie's childhood sweetheart Billy are killed in a mining accident. Shocked and distraught, Katie finds herself vulnerable to the advances of the owner of the mine, Matthew Hamilton, a married man who wastes no time in taking advantage of her. Thrown out by her grandmother, her reputation and career in tatters, Katie finds herself facing a home for unmarried mothers. Only Matthew Hamilton offers her a way to keep her baby, but only if she forgoes her principles and becomes his mistress.