Things are not going well in the depression-era town of Castle Gate. Mr. Ribaldi, a mysterious rich man with a disfigured face and an abrasive personality, has just bought and moved into a long-vacant mansion. Bonnie, an adolescent girl who loves to sing, ends up working for Ribaldi so that her family can stay in their house. But Ribaldi is quite an accomplished musician himself, and he is soon giving Bonnie voice lessons. Meanwhile, local businesses are being shut down by foreclosures, and the townspeople suspect Ribaldi is responsible.