St. Louis Chronicle reporter Camille Preaker returns to her rural hometown of Wind Gap, Mo., to file a story about two missing girls, one of whom was found dead and presumed murdered. The assignment, which reunites Camille with her overbearing mother, Adora, brings back traumatic childhood memories, including the death of her younger sister, Marian, when both were schoolgirls.
Camille searches for clues at the funeral and wake for Wind Gap's latest victim, and clashes with her mother about Camille's presence in the town. Richard finds a surprising way to arrive at a conclusion about the murderer's profile. Camille pays a visit to the working-class home of a young boy who says he witnessed the abduction, and confronts Chief Vickery.
Camille relives a recent tragedy as she struggles to piece together the murders in Wind Gap. Richard grows frustrated with Chief Vickery's assumptions regarding potential suspects. A defiant Amma shows off her wild side to Camille, but Adora admonishes Camille for meddling in the investigation and a town in mourning.
Camille agrees to show Richard some of Wind Gap’s crime scenes, though the tour opens up old wounds. Alan confronts Adora about her sharing confidences with Chief Vickery, who is concerned about the Crellins hosting the annual "Calhoun Day" attended by Wind Gap's youth. Fired from his job at Preaker Farms, John shares off-the-record revelations with Camille that raise fresh concerns for her.
Despite a potential serial killer on the loose in the community, Wind Gap residents gather for Calhoun Day, an annual southern-pride festival hosted by Adora on the grounds of her house. As Amma and her friends act out a traditional play depicting the sacrifices made by the wife of a Confederate soldier, Adora shares confidences with Richard that may impact his relationship with Camille.
Adora provides Chief Vickery with a key piece of evidence in the Ann Nash murder case. Richard probes for details about Camille’s dark past. John’s girlfriend, Ashley, looks to make news for herself. Amma bonds with Camille during and after a wild party.
Camille crosses a line in her investigation of the prime suspect. Richard coaxes Jackie to offer up info about Marian Preaker’s death. Adora takes pains to keep an ailing Amma under her roof and in her care.