Still, she's quick to point out, the show is fiction – and its main goal is "to entertain."
Dressed to the nines at Monday night's YSL Opening Night Gala benefit at Metropolitan Opera in New York, Goodwin pointed out that her character's clothes – while dowdy – are a far cry from the Little House on the Prairie fashion sensibility shown in news footage of the renegade sect run by fundamentalist Warren Jeffs.
"My character does not come from that world," the 29-year-old actress told PEOPLE. "She's married into a family who come from that world but are no longer a part of it. My clothes on the show are a little outdated, not my personal taste, but certainly not 'compound chic.' "
Nonetheless, Goodwin noted that violence and abuse is "certainly implied" in the critically acclaimed show.
"We're acutely aware of what goes on in real life," she said. "Ours is a sugar-coated version. But we feel we are educating. We find the human story very compelling."