Ricki chased her dreams of becoming a famous rock star by abandoning her family. She gets a chance to put things right when her ex-husband Pete asks her to visit Indianapolis and help their estranged daughter Julie through a difficult time.
Ricki has a rock band that plays a regular gig at a small bar, when she isn’t working as a cashier to make ends meet. Julie recently attempted suicide because her husband cheated on her and is divorcing her. Despite being broke, Ricki comes to Indianapolis to help her daughter, but Julie is hostile. Likewise, her two sons are hostile and unwelcoming. One is gay and the other recently became engaged, though no one told their mother. Still, Ricki gets through to Julie. Unfortunately, her husband’s second wife, Maureen, returns unexpectedly, confronting Ricki with some hard truths. She wasn’t there for her children when they needed her and Maureen was. Ashamed, Ricki returns to her band in California angry and bitter, insulting her guitarist who is in love with her. He makes her realize he cares and they make love. Maureen sends Ricki an invitation to the son’s wedding as an olive branch, but Ricki can’t afford to go. Her boyfriend sells his best guitar to pay for the tickets.