Master Adams has been the stern but respected village schoolmaster for forty years. Now, on the occasion of his retirement, he is glum and despondent. Feeling he has been a failure in his profession, but not knowing by what criterion he would judge success, he grows taciturn and short with his family. Wife Susan, youngest daughter Stella and her hopeful suitor John Martin, Adam's succesor at the school, fail to lift his spirits, and these plummet further when Stella is seriously injured on a climbing trip. Then, just as it appears that Stella will never recover, the possibility of a cure presents itself, and for both father and daughter there is hope for the future.