In 19th-century England a peasant named John Durbeyfield discovers he descends from a noble family, the d'Urbervilles. He sends his eldest daughter Tess to live with Alec d'Urberville, a rich cousin. It soon emerges that the illustrious name was purchased by Alec's father. Tess is seduced by Alec and gives birth to a child that dies in infancy. Whilst attempting to escape from her destiny, she meets a pastor's son named Angel Clare. He falls in love with her and they get married. On their wedding night, Tess reveals her past to him. He cannot forgive her and deserting her, goes off to Brazil. A year later Angel discovers that Tess has become Alec's mistress. Driven to despair, Tess kills her lover and leaves to be with the only man she has ever been passionately in love with her husband.