THE STORY: Picture a charming home in the South. Into this peaceful scene put the prosperous, despotic Hubbard family—Ben, possessive and scheming; Oscar, cruel and arrogant; Oscar’s son Leo, weak and unprincipled; Regina, wickedly clever—each trying to outwit the other. In contrast, meet lonely intimidated Birdie, whom Oscar wed for her father’s cotton fields; wistful Alexandra, Regina’s daughter; and Horace, ailing husband of Regina, between whom a breach has existed for years. The conflict in these lives has been caused by Ben’s ambition to erect a cotton mill. The brothers still lack $75,000 to complete the transaction. This, they hope, will come from Horace, who has been in a hospital with a heart ailment. Horace is beset by his relatives the first hour of his homecoming, but refuses to commit himself. Desperate, Leo and Oscar plan for Leo to take $80,000 worth of bonds from Horace’s safe-deposit box. Horace, discovering the theft, informs his wife that he has willed the bonds to her, calling it a loan. Cruelly, Regina recalls their unhappy married life, causing Horace to be stricken with a severe attack. Then Regina blackmails her brothers into giving her 75% of the business instead of their planned 33 1/3%, or she will reveal their theft.
A milestone in American drama.