A runaway teen accused of murdering her minister stepfather hitchhikes to Alaska only to learn that the past can have stronger bars than any jail. Eight years later at a time when women's voices were seldom heard, Belle seeks freedom by confronting her demented mother and the ghost of the stepfather who raped her. But who really killed the minister? Belle and Charlotte, from diverse backgrounds, form an unlikely friendship and explore whether life outcomes result from innate character, from an accident of birth, or from some unknown forces that some call fate, some call God. They meet in Las Vegas in 1955 when BELLE WILLIAMS at age 23 had been on the run for eight years. CHARLOTTE (Charlie) FORCE left her attorney husband and wants a divorce.
Belle is homesick and struggles with loneliness. She ponders the parallel between the way that happiness eludes her and how the Alaskan sun escapes the midnight sky for a few minutes at summer solstice. It gives her hope that her happiness will return, the same way the sun returns shortly after midnight. She longs to sing in her brother Jesse's country band One Night Stand, that is, if she can get out of jail.
Charlie has troubles of her own. Her powerful husband OLIVER FORCE is contesting her divorce and wants her back. He's the best defense lawyer in the country and Charlie needs him to defend Belle, but his price is that Charlie returns to him.
Belle is sent back to Nashville to face trial. Frank, the cop who arrested her, admits he has fallen for her and travels from Las Vegas to Sweetwater Creek in search of her innocence or guilt.
Country bands struggle with change in the mid-fifties when rock and pop is creating a new sound in country music. Jesse argues with his cousin, the manager of the group, to update their music, but his cousin says, “Rockabilly and Elvis Presley will soon be fuckin' memories.” Jesse's cousin has dominated him since they were children but when the band is unable to get work, Jesse stands up to him and threatens to leave the band if they don't change.