Based upon the true story of a woman's battle to raise her baby in prison after having become pregnant by a prison guard while serving a twenty-year stretch for robbery, Amy Madigan, in her debut film, delivers an impressive intensity and range as Terry Jean Moore, a wild young woman with a chip on her shoulder. The story begins as Terry is hitchhiking with her equally wild cousin Jesse (Lewis Smith). They are picked up by a passing motorist and Jesse tries to rob the motorist of five dollars. When they are caught, Jesse takes the rap for her cousin and winds up in jail. Her temperament does not endear her to the prison authorities, although she is befriended by a young lesbian, J.J. (Mackenzie Phillips), and a sympathetic guard, Jack Hensen (Beau Bridges). Jack and Terry fall in love and have an affair in prison. Terry becomes pregnant and fights to raise her child in prison. At the same time, being pregnant forces Terry to reconsider her life and adopt a more responsible attitude.