In 1935, gangster Nicky is murdered by several rivals, while his pregnant girlfriend Ruby (Piper Laurie) looks on. He vows revenge. Ruby immediately goes into labor.
16 years later, in 1951, the middle aged gang has left crime behind. Ruby runs a drive in movie and the killers all work for her. The baby is now a 16 year old mute daughter. Ruby is a self centered cold dame, who treats her daughter like garbage. One by one the killers die in suspicious "accidents". Ruby denies anything strange is going on, until the mute daughter begins to speak with the voice of her dead father.
Ruby finally goes back to the lake, where Nicky was murdered and his body dumped. She calls out to the spirit of Nicky, trying to convince him that she was always on his side. She is lured to the water by a vision of the young handsome Nicky. Nicky's skeleton pulls her under and drowns her.