Early 19th century decor for a good story -- a holding drama and colorful. Miranda, Bible-bred farm girl with a romantic head and pretty face gets a chance to live her dream when she is requested as companion to the child of a wealthy relative. He is Nicholas Van Ryn, upper New York state Dutch aristocracy, arrogant, handsome, married to Johanna whom he loathes, Johanna, heavy, indolent, gluttonous. Impressed with the elegance of Dragonwyck, the dark glamour of Nicholas, Miranda falls in love and after Johanna's sudden death, they are married. Then she realizes his satanic qualities, his violence, the latent egomania; eventually facing the fact that he had murdered Johanna and that he was a victim of opium. Her baby has died and she fears that she too will be his victim. Finally, with the aid of a young doctor she breaks away, and Nicholas is killed in a last flamboyant gesture.