On the coast of Rhode Island in 1978, the Winter family lives in a decaying farmhouse within view of the Atlantic Ocean. When family patriarch Jim Winter inexplicably commits suicide one January morning, his wife, Helen, teenage daughter, Joyce, and fisherman son, Dale, are left to pick up the pieces. Like the man whose life insurance is worth more than his life, Helen Winter knows that cashing in on the value of their oceanfront property would be both the salvation and destruction of the Winters, who have farmed this seaside land for three centuries. Cousin Ludlow Winter gives her a job in his real estate office, but he also pressures her to sell more and more of the farm. Neighbor Fran Kennedy befriends her, but also seems to be eyeing her antiques. Her sister-in-law, Loretta, wants to turn the Winter land over to the Audubon Society. Meanwhile, Joyce tries to make sense of her father's suicide and a generation of family secrets all while trying to preserve her Swamp Yankee heritage, which is threatened by greedy developers and outsiders who have no understanding of this land the Winters call home. Her best friend, Camille, a Narragansett Indian, is on a journey of her own to untangle her heritage. As a storm threatens to overtake the farm, the journeys of these women will collide with hurricane force.