Florida-based independent filmmaker Victor Nuñez gave young actress Ashley Judd her breakthrough role with his original script about a woman taking to the road to escape her past and forge a new future for herself. Feeling smothered and confused after the death of her mother, Ruby Lee Gissing flees her Tennessee home.
She drives south to the panhandle of Florida, because she has always dreamed of living near the ocean. Mildred Chambers (Dorothy Lyman), the owner of a souvenir shop, hires her as a clerk and befriends Ruby as well. Soon, there are two men in Ruby's life: Mike McCaslin (Todd Field) and Mildred's ne'er-do-well son, Ricky (Bentley Mitchum).
Although Ruby briefly succumbs to the advances of one of them, by the film's end, she is still on her own, understanding that a new chapter of her life is just beginning.
In addition to the picture taking home the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Judd was nominated for Best Actress by the New York Film Critics and won Best Female Lead at the Independent Spirits.