Based on Lula Vollmer's play Trigger, a young hillbilly woman prays and is accused of being a witch while two dam engineers romance her.
Trigger Hicks (Katharine Hepburn) is so poor she charges Bill a dime for using the path on her land, and she argues with Etta (Sara Haden) over the money for the wash Etta brings her. A dam is being built nearby under the direction of George Fleetwood (Ralph Bellamy) and John Stafford (Robert Young). Bill tells George there is a witch who keeps people in that area healthy and that Granny was raised from the dead. Trigger has been stealing bolts and throws one at West for trying to kiss her. She prays, and George goes for a doctor; but he is well before the doctor comes. John walks with Trigger to her house. Trigger tells Etta how to pray to be brighter.
Trigger brings a baby to George, because the mother was neglecting him; they give him condensed milk. Men arrive looking for Trigger because of the baby; but George denies she is there. Trigger stays all night, and George sleeps on porch chairs. In the morning John arrives. George goes to get the baby's father. John tells Trigger that George is divorced but doesn't tell her he is married. They like each other, and he kisses her. When his wife Eleanor arrives unexpectedly, Trigger learns he is married. Trigger made the baby well and gives him to George to take back. Trigger goes home and does the washing. Bill tells George people are angry at Trigger, because the baby got worse. John calls on Trigger and apologizes for lying. She says he shouldn't have kissed her. As people approach, John goes out; George tells him to get a gun. The local men want to drive Trigger out, because Granny says she raised her from the dead. The baby's mother asks Trigger for help. Trigger takes the child, but he dies. Some throw stones at Trigger, and she says she will go. George tells them to get out, and they leave.
Trigger finished the wash, and Etta comes in and tells her she prayed to be brighter, taking the clean clothes. Trigger burns her Bible cards except one she reads over the baby's body - "I am the resurrection and the life." Trigger tells George she believes her caring for John affected her praying. George asks to buy her house while she is gone; but Trigger will only accept a quarter. George says she taught him trust and offers to send her to school. He asks her to promise to meet him there in a year. Trigger kisses George good-bye, and he hopes she will come back soon.
This unusual story contrasts the simple faith of a poor woman with two sophisticated engineers, one an irresponsible philanderer and the other who learns about prayer. Trigger also has to learn how to handle her own wild tendencies.