When ninety-year old WW2 war veteran "Gramps", the sole support of his grandkids, Carlie (18) and Pete (13), starts losing his grasp of time and place, Carlie must move him from their impoverished home in the oil fields to a rest home in nearby Bakersfield. Since their mother died five years ago and their father abandoned them, Carlie and Pete have survived on Gramps' veterans checks and Carlie must now earn enough money to support her younger brother. Unable to find a job she's forced to rent Gramps' room to an enigmatic wounded Iraq War veteran. Two more displaced Vietnam vets eventually rent rooms and an unlikely new family begins to form. But the rent money is still not enough. When Carlie hears about a local singing contest offering prize money, the vets encourage her to enter and help her choose songs. With her mother's guitar and a unique voice, she wins the first two contests making her eligible for the final contest for $10,000 and a recording contract. Carlie struggles to write a song and gives up until the Iraq veteran encourages her to write it from her heart, something that she discovers he has already done with a song of his own. As the contest approaches their itinerant father shows up with a new wife and lays claim to the house forcing Carlie to decide if singing her song for the contest money is more important than giving voice to one of the veterans.