Young Mary Sunley toils from dawn till dusk on her parents' farm, tucked away in Guisborough, a remote corner of North Yorkshire. Her father's refusal to embrace electricity or modern machinery means Mary must hand-milk the herd and heft half-hundred-weight bales of hay. But when her life is touched by a neighbouring farm-hand, Mary faces a stark dilemma: follow family tradition or be true to her heart?
This is a fine example of the kind of beautifully-crafted rural-themed documentaries that Barry Cockcroft became known for. As well as a prolific filmmaker, he was also an author who frequently wrote books on the same subjects as his films, including this one. 'Sunley's Daughter: The Ways of a Yorkshire Dale' was published in the same year that this film was broadcast.