A study of crowd psychology, centering on the effect on the people in the town when a black child falls and is trapped in a deep abandoned well. What emerges is one of the most moving and suspenseful studies in interracial unity during the 1950s in American films. Prior to her discovery in the well, it is assumed by the black faction that she has been possibly raped and murdered by the son of the town's most hated white bigot since he was the last person seen with her. A near race riot commences, and is only stemmed by the discovery of the girl. The black and the white elements, ashamed of what transpired earlier, then unite for the intricate and emotional rescue.