In the Pacific Northwest in the 1950s, two young sisters abandoned by their mother - Ruth (Sara Walker) and Lucille (Andrea Burchill) - are raised by a succession of aged relatives until their aunt Sylvie (Christine Lahti) arrives like a breath of fresh air. Sylvie returns home to bittersweet memories and the town's harsh scrutiny, but the girls are thrilled to have a charming young role model. Sylvie has been living for many years on the road, however, and her life is detached from the norms of the community. Sylvie's new responsibilities offer her a chance for real love, sharing, a home and a sense of family-all things she has not felt for a long time. But eventually Ruth and Lucille's perceptions of Sylvie change, and the two girls develop vastly different ways of relating to this eccentric, original woman.