Coming of age in small-town Oklahoma. High schooler Cal Chetley is a brainy beanpole who lives with his widowed mother. Ten years earlier his father, a state wrestling champion, died in a car crash. Cal's older brother Mike, also a former wrestling champion but now down and out at 28, is estranged from the family. Over the course of a fall and winter, Cal joins the high school wrestling team while searching out Mike to ask for help. Mike rejects the offer, but Cal is persistent. Will Mike accept the challenge or is he destined to let Cal down? Giving advice and encouragement are an enigmatic old man named Red and a quirky friend named Luli. Then, there's Cal's mom who must be reckoned with.