The progress of a group of children, marred by the unhumorous, deliberately evasive mothers and the culmination of their development into family distrust, scandals, and tragedies. With Mrs. Dean, bringing her New England standards to her new home in Oregon, as ringmaster for intense decency, hypocritical attitudes towards reality and careful supervision of a sinless atmosphere, Laura and Tony Dean, Cathy and Nicky Collins, Flip Carmody, early learn deception, guile, and/or latent ability to have things their own way at a price. Free, honest Monie and her understanding parents help the youngsters, all except Laura Dean, but Mrs. Dean's dogged persistence in separating Tony and Monie creates trouble for all. Her possessive hold causes Monie to elope with Nicky; approves Ton's loveless marriage; divorces Flip from his family; is almost defied when Laura marries their chauffeur. Laura's intensified hatred of Monie brews a holocaust in which Mrs. Dean is forever defeated, and Monie and Tony are at last able to break away. A careful shadowing of conditioned misfits, lashed to maternal chariot wheels, which employs supervised and proper ladies-audience-only techniques.