The play is set in Omaha in 1980. Ric, in his late twenties, delivers pizza, writes mangled poetry, drinks too much and loves his wife. His obsessive jealousy drives Beth to temporary refuge in her mother's home, where he follows for a clumsy confrontation. Beth's last desperate effort to touch Ric provokes him to awkward, befuddled violence. Her mother finds her dead. But the play's focus is on the mother, Rosie, a bookkeeper in her fifties. Once the victim of an alcoholic, abusive marriage, she now carries on a liaison with Les, an affable used car dealer who had helped her through hard times, joked her out of depressions, but who won't divorce his wife. She clings to religion, then numerology, groping for something to believe in. She finds it in Beth's death, coming by degrees to an overwhelming faith in Ric's innocence. Fabricating her own reality, she ejects Les, gets herself fired, hires a lawyer for Ric and lies at the trial, slandering her daughter to obtain his acquittal. Not even his blunt statement of the facts can shake her belief. The ending is grotesquely happy: a short epilogue sees a new job for Rosie, electronics school for Ric and the past erased.