Bess, an innocent young woman who thinks she can speak to God, lives in a Scottish town governed by the strict Calvinist moral imposed by the elders. She marries Jan, a worker on a nearby oil rig and the two live blissfully while the experienced Jan introduces her to the mysteries of sex. However, obliged to return to work, Jan is paralysed in an accident. Bess cares for him with devotion and prays for his recovery. Jan, permanently medicated and severely depressed, proposes that Bess has relations with other men in the belief that it will help her to return to normal life.