Set in fashionable 1850s New York, The Heiress is a subtle tragedy of love and innocence betrayed. At 22, Catherine Sloper is neither clever nor beautiful, but to her delight she finds herself courted by the handsome and charming Morris Townsend. Is it her good and gentle heart that he desires, or her inheritance. For her widowed aunt, Lavinia, it is an opportunity to engineer a clandestine romance. For Doctor Sloper, keeping his daughter from her lover is a duty.