December 29, 1993, on the Los Angeles bound Coast Starlight, Toni Dorado is heading home. After almost two years she is returning, anxious but determined - to the family and lover she left behind. Toni's mother, Adela, awaits her arrival with joy, as does Gabriela, Toni's niece. But her return kindles old resentments in her sister Sylvia and sharp pain in her ex-girlfriend Pat. Still smarting from leaving her lover in Washington State, Toni negotiates her hopes for a better life and for reconciliation with Pat with the turbulence surrounding her; Adela's fears that her family is tearing itself apart, Sylvia's battle for survival in a violent marriage, Gabriela's mix of fierce love and contempt for her mother, and Pat's struggle to forgive Toni. As their volatile relationships hover on the verge of explosion, the Northridge earthquake rips through Los Angeles, and the women are forced to face one another with all defenses down.