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Life for teenage Ruthie (Stefania Owen) and her mother, Rita (Katie Holmes), has never been stable. Fleeing Rita’s abusive boyfriend, they find themselves homeless and heading east in search of a better life. When their car breaks down, they find themselves stuck in a small town where a smooth-talking real estate broker named Vic (Mark Consuelos) entices Rita with a subprime loan that leads to the purchase of their first home. Ruthie settles into a new high school, while Rita cleans up her act by landing a steady job waitressing at a local diner where the staff begin to feel like family. She even attends an AA-meeting where she connects with the open-hearted Lee (Luke Wilson). As the dark side of the American dream catches up with the small town, the diner is forced to close and Rita and Ruthie are faced once again with the prospect of homelessness. Reverting back to survival mode, they are forced to find comfort in each other despite their circumstances working to tear them apart.