A violent thunderstorm strands a couple and child in the gothic fiction English countryside: little Judy, who is traveling with her selfish, uncaring father, David and her rich, callous, arrogant stepmother Rosemary. David only has Judy due to a court order and barely tolerates her presence. After their car is stuck in mud and the rain begins, they find a mansion. After breaking in, they are found by the owners, a kindly older couple, Gabriel and Hilary Hartwicke. Rosemary threw Judy's beloved teddy bear into the bushes while out in the rain, so Gabriel gifts her a new doll, Mr. Punch. They are invited to stay and while eating, Isabel and Enid (two British punk rocker hitchhikers) barge in with the person who picked them up, Ralph. Gabriel reveals himself to be a talented toy maker; their house is filled with dolls, puppets, and many other beautifully detailed and handmade toys. The Hartwickes invite the stranded travelers to join them to stay as guests until the storm ends and show them to their rooms.