The first part of the film revolves around Ruth, visualized as a pagan idolatress in her youth who serves as the spiritual teacher of a young Moabitess girl, Tebah, who is being prepared to be sacrificed to Chemosh, a Moabite deity. High-priestess Eleilat, along with Ruth, instruct Mahlon, a Judean artisan, to polish Tebah's ritual crown. Mahlon delivers the crown to Ruth at the temple, and he begins to question her about the existence of Chemosh. Ruth becomes doubtful of her religion and ultimately falls in love with Mahlon, sharing an interest in monotheism.

This fictional non-biblical part ends with the sight of the Moabite girl being sacrificed, from which a distressed Ruth flees. The Moabites condemn Mahlon, his father Elimelech, and brother Chilion. Chilion and Elimelech die in the prison, while Mahlon's punishment is to work at the quarries for the rest of his life. Ruth, however, attempts to escape with Mahlon, but he is wounded before he flees the quarries and dies in a cave afterwards, marrying Ruth just prior to his death.

 Directed by

  Henry Koster
Produced by Samuel G. Engel
Written by Norman Corwin
Based on Book of Ruth
Starring Stuart Whitman
Tom Tryon
Peggy Wood
Viveca Lindfors
Jeff Morrow
Elana Eden