Teenager Ellie Masters is orphaned after her prostitute mother and one of her Client (prostitution)s are clobbered with a hammer, and the house set on fire. Calvin Carruthers, a detective investigating Ellie's mother's murder, takes an avid interest in her wellbeing. Ellie is sent to an isolated orphanage run by the sadistic Mrs. Deere, and her handyman, Tom Kredge. The day before Ellie arrives, one of the orphans, Ernest, attempts to escape, and is chased by Kredge, who cuts off his hand and leaves him to bleed to death.
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