A young Victorian London prostitute struggles to become an exclusive Courtesan. Frustrated, she emigrates to America and becomes a famous New Mexico Madam.
An old lady recalls her life in the late 1800s as she is being interviewed by a young newspaper reporter in the 1920s and two very different stories emerge.
Polly Parkins, growing up in Victorian London, accepts from an early age that she will be a prostitute, seeing this as her only way out of a life of poverty and deprivation. She struggles to reach the top and become an exclusive, and pampered, courtesan. Beset by difficulties, and enemies, she eventually abandons the idea and emigrates to the U.S.
Realistic and strong-minded, she ends up in New Mexico Territory where she becomes a famous Madam and, in her old age, a respected citizen.
"Polly" is based loosely on stories about Sadie Orchard, a real-life New Mexico Madam of the 1800s. It shows the different levels of prostitution in London and the Southwest, portrays the development of the Old West as well as telling the story of a colorful character.