An inbred family portrait which airs, during the long death watch over Mary Tryon, the frictions and frustrations among the three children she had adopted, Ruth, and Jefferson and Betty, and in the next generation between Dan and Asher. For Ruth who had adopted Dan (knowing that he is her husband's son by another woman) prior to the birth of Asher, is not only concerned about the fact that they have fallen in love, but also by Dan's battle fatigue which finds expression in occasional uncontrolled violence. During this time Dan learns that Brad is his real father which puts the stigma of incest on his feeling for Asher, his bitterness towards the family is fed by this fact which had been withheld, and after attacking- murderously- a man, he consents to institutionalization. And the ""shadow"" of Mary Tryon, whom they had all loved and to whom they turned in times of doubt, exerts its serene, regenerative influence. An intelligent interpretation of unhappy people in uneasy situations, this is possibly too inactive for popular tastes.