Friedrich Durrenmatt's misanthropic theatrical piece The Visit has never been totally successful in any production, not even in the original Broadway presentation starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. The film version keeps this failure record consistent. Ingrid Bergman plays a fabulously wealthy woman who returns to her impoverished home town. Years earlier, she had been driven from town in disgrace after sleeping with solid citizen Anthony Quinn. She now offers a deal to the city elders: Bergman will alleviate the city's financial difficulties--in exchange for Quinn's life. The original play ended with the lynching of the seducer; the film ends with Bergman halting the execution, proclaiming that by allowing Quinn to live, the townsfolk will be forced to feel the pangs of guilt over what they might have done for the rest of their lives.