Rynn Jacobs (Jodie Foster) is a pretty thirteen-year-old girl who lives in a secluded house that she and her poet father have rented in a quiet Quebec seaside community. But Mr Jacobs has not been seen for months and whenever anybody from the town tries to satisfy their curiosity, it seems the girl is all alone.
Rynn is a strange girl, independent, highly intelligent and extremely self-sufficient, preferring solitude to the company of strangers.
Nevertheless, strangers do invade her sanctuary.
On Halloween night, Frank Hallet (Martin Sheen), a sleazy young man whose interest in Rynn is abnormally intense, overstays his welcome when his two young sons come to trick-or-treat.
Sergeant Miglioriti (Mort Shuman), the local policeman, warns Rynn to stay away from Hallet.
Mrs Hallet (Alexis Smith), the young man’s mother, is Rynn’s landlady, a pushy, nosey woman who sees herself as the social arbiter of the town. She warns Rynn, almost threateningly, to stay away from her son.
Finally, Mario Podesta (Scott Jacoby), a handsome teenager, and self-styled magician falls under Rynn’s spell, befriends her and eventually helps her.
But in teaching Rynn the importance of trust and friendship, Mario places his life in danger.