The recently widowed, nineteen-year-old Mary Stuart (Katharine Hepburn) returns from France to Scotland to reclaim her throne but is opposed by her half-brother and the Scottish lords.
Meanwhile in England, Elizabeth I regards her a dangerous rival and potentially a rallying point for English Catholics. Factionalism, English machinations, and the Scottish Reformation eventually lead to a civil war and house arrest for Mary.
Mary escapes and flees to England, where captivity and a worse fate await her.
Mel Berns was the makeup artist