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Soprano Helen Lorfield Winter has been in seclusion and has not performed in an opera since the death of her husband three years earlier. Helen has developed an obsessive devotion to her young son Hank, rarely leaving his side, but with help from her devoted concert manager, Arthur Norton, Helen eventually overcomes her fears and agrees to return to the opera. She makes a sensational comeback, playing to a sold-out concert hall, but the evening takes a tragic turn when Hank is struck and killed by a truck while chasing after his collie, Lassie. Overcome by grief, Helen confines herself to her bed and is placed under the care of Dr. Gage. When Dr. Gage tells Helen that she must stop avoiding children and resume her normal life, Helen makes plans to leave the city and never return. Believing that Lassie had indirectly caused her son's death, Helen decides to leave the dog behind. She changes her mind, however, after her maid convinces her that Hank would have wanted Lassie to be with her. After driving along the California coast, Helen arrives at the small town of Brushy Gap, where she rents a mountain house owned by writer Thomas I. Chandler. The house is managed by the town's general store proprietor, Willie B. Williegoode, who tries to acquaint Helen with the rural lifestyle. Helen is reluctant to shed her big city ways for simple country living, but her transition is helped by a friendship she develops with a young boy named Jerry. Jerry adores Lassie and helps Helen with her chores. Despite her warm relationship with Jerry, Helen soon develops a reputation in town of being unfriendly to children, thus inviting the scorn of the children and their mothers. However, the townspeople forgive Helen after she apologizes to them, and the children eventually accept her as a friend. When Helen discovers that Jerry and his friends all live at an orphanage, she begins to suspect that Jerry is waiting for her to adopt him. To avoid the adoption issue, Helen decides leave Brushy Gap to resume her singing career. One day, while Helen is away on a short trip, Jerry falls into a river and develops pneumonia. When Helen returns to Brushy Gap, she finds Tom living in her house and caring for Jerry. After being nursed back to health, Jerry accepts that Helen is leaving, and tries to ease her conscience by telling her that his mother lives in a nearby town and that he will return to her. Helen tries to leave Brushy Gap but returns when she hears the sounding of the town fire bell and realizes that the orphanage is on fire. While Tom and other townspeople try to extinguish the blaze, Lassie indicates that Jerry is trapped inside the burning building. Tom rescues Jerry with Lassie's help, and Jerry later admits to Tom that he lied about having a mother. However, the near tragedy has prompted Helen to realize her motherly love for Jerry, and she decides to adopt him and stay in Brushy Gap.