Kept a virtual stranger by her bullying father, fourteen-year-old Vera Quinn longs for a life of her own. Michael Quinn is admired and liked by his customers, but he rules his family with a rod of iron. After her mother's untimely death, Vera is expected to keep house for both Michael and her brothers Eddy and young Benny.
And so begins a life of great hardship and little joy - Michael drinks away anything he earns and even the small wages Vera and Eddy bring in are barely enough to keep the family going. But then one day Michael brings Di Deverill home and life becomes an even greater hell for Vera.