Leon Barlow is a hang-dog Vietnam vet whose marriage has just fallen apart. He has two children - a pre-teen son and a sickly daughter suffering from an incurable respiratory illness. He lives alone in a rambling house, survives by painting houses and sends out bushels of manuscripts to publishers, all of which are returned in equal quantities. He feels driven to write and constantly sees the world through his writerly eyes, but is so self-centred and lost in his own fantasies that his wife and family live in a constant state of frustration at his lack of maturity. Yet, despite every obstacle he still keeps sending out his stories, hoping that someday, someone will respond to his work.