In a plantation house, a family celebrates the sixty-fifth birthday of Big Daddy. The mood is somber because a number of evils poison the gaiety: greed, sins of the past and desperate, clawing hopes for the future spar with one another as the knowledge that Big Daddy is dying slowly makes the rounds. Maggie, Big Daddy's daughter-in-law, wants to give him the news that she's finally become pregnant by his favorite son, Brick. But Brick won't cooperate in Maggie's plans and prefers to stay in a mild alcoholic haze. Swarming around Maggie and Brick are their intrusive, conniving relatives, all eager to see Maggie put in her place and Brick tumbled from his position of most-beloved son. By evening's end, Maggie's ingenuity, fortitude and passion will set things right, and Brick's love for his father, never before expressed, will retrieve him from his path of destruction and return him, helplessly, to Maggie's loving arms.