Jim (Casey Affleck) begrudgingly returns to his hometown in rural Indiana after failing to make it on his own in New York. Once back, he soon remembers why he left; a doting but overbearing mother (Mary Kay Place), a distant father (Seymour Cassel) and a depressed older brother (Kevin Corrigan) whose "accidents" seem suspect at best.
Crippled by obligations and his own anxieties, Jim trudges on through every day monotones and the family's collapse, after his mom is mistakenly taken for a suburban drug smuggler.
Almost miraculously, a glimmer of hope springs from a meeting with a local nurse (Liv Tyler) and her young son.
Jim slowly learns how to move forward without leaving everyone behind.