Based on a novel by Richard Peck called Don't Look and It Won't Hurt, Allison Anders' melodramatic coming-of-age tale Gas Food Lodging takes place in Laramie, NM, a small town right off the highway. Nora (Brooke Adams) is a truck-stop waitress who lives in a trailer park with her two teenaged daughters, Trudi (Ione Skye) and Shade (Fairuza Balk).
While Trudi sleeps around and defies her mother, Shade spends her time at the local cinema and wishes she could have a dad like a normal family. One day, Trudi hooks up with a visiting geologist (Robert Knepper) and spends a magical evening in a cave with him. However, he turns up missing and Trudi finds herself pregnant.
Meanwhile, Shade's romantic advances are rejected by Darius (Donovan Leitch), but she finds something new with film projectionist Javier (Jacob Vargas). Shade's attempts at finding a husband for her mom are unsuccessful, but Nora ends up meeting satellite TV installation man Hamlet Humphrey (David Lansbury).
Features a cameo appearance from Dinosaur Jr. frontman J. Mascis, who also wrote the original music.