At the lush Evenswood estate in Concord, Massachusetts, Edith Adelon (Cari Shayne), a beautiful orphan, lives as the paid companion to the daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family, although they regard her as one of their own. Years ago, Henry Hamilton (Tom Conti) saved Edith from an Italian orphanage at the request of his long-deceased brother. Now, Edith is his daughter Amy's (Brigitta Dau) prized friend and confidante. As the Hamiltons await a trio of visitors for the annual Greens Cup horse race, Beatrice Hamilton (Meredith Baxter) asks for Edith's help in finding a suitable husband for a cousin, Ida Glenshaw (Brigid Walsh Brannagh), with one of two visiting eligible bachelors. But when it becomes clear that both the young men have affection for Edith and not Ida, jealousy soon develops, leading to malicious conniving and brutal backstabbing. Despite the growing love between Edith and one of the young suitors, because of their conflicting social classes, the couple is reminded time and again that their love can never be.
The Inheritance is a story that centers on an innocent young woman's struggle to make sense of her position within the Hamilton household and in society, and the love she feels for her patrons, as well as for a young man she can never marry.