A quiet Connecticut vacation home is the backdrop for domestic decline. Sensitive son Edmund (Dean Stockwell) returns home from spending time at sea to a family in a state of collapse. His father (Ralph Richardson) is an alcoholic miser. His mother, Mary (Katharine Hepburn), is addicted to morphine. His brother, Jamie (Jason Robards), is aggressive and unstable. As Edmund and his brother clash over how to help their mother, she becomes increasingly concerned about Edmund's worsening health.