The film follows the life of Mattie Rigsbee (Ellen Burstyn), an elderly woman who believes in strong religious convictions. The film explores the lonely qualities of life for senior citizens after their children leave as adults. Judge Reinhold and Gail O'Grady play Mattie's children who live in a deep southern town. Mattie soon finds a likable friend in the local dogcatcher, Lamar Benfield (Mark Hamill). It is through this relationship in which she meets the dogcatcher's nephew, a troubled, foul-mouthed, orphaned juvenile delinquent, Wesley (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), currently serving time in juvenile detention for a recent car theft. Mattie finds that this young man is just missing direction and believes that with a little insight on Christianity he can straighten up and fly right.