In 1958, a Long Beach, California beauty parlor run by Melba Stokes (Leachman), her mother Sheba (Ann Sothern) and daughter Cheryl (Linda Purl), is repossessed. They flee when landlord Mr. Albertson comes to demand the back rent. On the road, heading back to Arkansas to reclaim the family farm, the Stokes women begin a crime spree. They rob a gas station first, then head for Las Vegas next. In pursuit of pregnant Cheryl is her boyfriend, Shawn, while Melba gets reacquainted with an old lover, Jim Bob. Further battles with the law along the way eventually lead to a shootout in which Jim Bob and others are killed. Melba is left alone, on the lam, but begins life again in a new town with a new look.