Floyd Burney is a moderately successful musician traversing the backwoods for an authentic folk song. An old man at a shop refuses to help him despite his charm and promise to pay "top dollar." Going through the woods, Burney hears the faint melancholy humming of a local girl; Mary Rachael. As he goes to her, he fails to see a tombstone with his name on it.
Mary Rachael soon takes an interest in Burney who, using promises of romance and love, gets her to let him record her song. However, Burney ignores Mary Rachael's insistences that the song is about their love and that he is the only one she has ever loved until her fiancé Billy Rayford appears and accuses Burney of trying to seduce Mary Rachael. Rayford and Burney fight, leading to Rayford's death. The recorded song begins playing with a new, previously unrecorded verse about Burney killing Rayford. Mary Rachael is now wearing black mourning clothes.
Burney, now scared and confused, confronts Mary Rachael and demands to know what is happening. However, she responds by telling him it always happens this way and offers to help him hide. Burney vehemently refuses, and Mary Rachael continues to sing, now adding lyrics about Rayford's brothers finding his body and swearing revenge on Burney.
Burney abandons Mary Rachael and runs back to the shop, demanding that the proprietor hide him. The old man tells him it's too late and Burney, in his panic, kills the old man and attempts to hide behind some music boxes which start to play on their own despite Burney's attempts to make them stop. As Burney tries without success to stop the music, the three brothers enter the shop and shots ring out. Later, Burney's tombstone is in the woods, where Burney failed to see it earlier.