In the tiny town of Carthage, Texas, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede is one of the town’s most beloved residents. Bernie befriends Marjorie Nugent, a sour and affluent older widow. Soon Bernie and Marjorie become inseparable and Marjorie becomes very dependent on Bernie, stifling his extroverted personality. Bernie is forced to quit his job and philanthropic activities in the community, leaving him deflated. Then things suddenly get better for Bernie and he seems his old generous self, while Marjorie is mysteriously absent. When Marjorie is discovered to have been dead for months Bernie Tiede is charged with murder, to the great surprise of the local community.