A single mother conducts a desperate fight to protect and save her teenage son when his abusive behavior toward her escalates and spirals out of control.
The divorced, working mother of a 16-year-old son, Jack, and little nine-year-old Leo, Sally Cambridge maintains an uneasy truce with her ex-husband, Brad, who is prone to tempermental outbursts and tries too hard to show who's the boss around the boys. But now, the normally loving and caring Jack has grown defiant. At first, stunned by his surliness and his belittling way of talking to her, Sally is angry and resolves to be stronger with him. In spite of her attempts to talk to Jack, his hostility grows, and his abusive language escalates to aggressive, physical behavior. Ashamed and frightened, Sally lies to protect Jack, but the police become involved and an irate Brad, refusing to believe Sally, threatens to take away custody of both boys. The presence of Sally's new boyfriend, Frank Cantor, further upsets Jack. In a sudden, deadly moment, he lashes out at his mother. Leo flings himself on Jack to defend his mother, and Jack knocks his little brother unconscious.
Sally finds herself under arrest, facing a prison sentence. but police detective Juarez believes her story. At the hospital, where the Cambridge family keeps watch over a still unconscious Leo, Juarez convinces Jack that his mother is going to prison. Jack admits he was responsible for hurting Leo. Jack is taken into custody. In the following months, each member of the family begins the agonizing process of examining their own actions and rebuilding their lives. Jack goes into group counseling; Brad admits that he often lets his temper get out of control; and Sally enters therapy to examine her own past behavior and learn what led her into becoming a victim. But the question remains whether the fear and mistrust between mother and son has cut too deep to ever allow them to love each other again.