Plot: Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific.
Alternative Plot: Gertrude Baniszewski, a divorced mother of several children, agrees to take care of two girls, Sylvia and Jennie, while their parents travel with a carnival. Though her eldest daughter is the real troublemaker, Gertrude vents all her bitterness and frustration on innocent Sylvia. Gertrude imprisons the girl in the basement and tortures her, eventually encouraging her children to follow suit.