Moll Flanders (Robin Wright) is placed in the care of a nunnery after her mother is executed. Moll rebels as a teenager after an encounter with an abusive priest. Living on the dangerous streets of London, she becomes a prostitute, working for Mrs. Allworthy (Stockard Channing).
Moll meets Allworthy's servant Hibble (Morgan Freeman), who takes a special interest in the young woman's well-being. With his help, she retains hope for the future, ultimately falling in love with an unconventional artist who promises the possibility of romantic happiness.