The Field family is comprised of parents Jim and Mary and their three daughters, Norma, Sandy and Lou. Dad runs the household with tyrannical military precision while Mom lies impassively on the living room couch, debilitated by depression. Domestic peace is torn apart by a secret that the parents will not face: the suspicious death of their first-born son. As they struggle under the weight of his absence, each daughter tries to escape the messiness of her home life in her own way. The rebellious Lou pursues a relationship with an American hippie; the attractive Sandy dreams of being the perfect homemaker and mother; and dutiful Norma obsesses about her dead brother.