It is mid-summer 1995 as a 1978 Mercedes zooms down the highway, heading west. Inside sit 14-year-old Ann August and her mother Adele. Against her will, Ann is being moved to Beverly Hills where Adele, stifled by small-town life in Bay City, Wisconsin hopes to make her colorful dreams come true. Ann is furious at having to leave the life she loves. Adele is tired of defending herself against her daughter's longings for home and family, and feels she's taking Ann away from a lifeless future and offering her a new exciting world. Their first stop in L.A. is the Beverly Hills Hotel, the symbol of Adele's quest; then they head off to what will become of their real life--meals at diners and a very ordinary one-bedroom apartment in the flats of Beverly Hills. For two years, Ann and Adele adjust to the reality of life in L.A. Their relationship is close, but always volatile. Adele, an "outsider" and Ann, a "realist" flip-flop the terms of their mother-daughter relationship in their journey of discovery.