Born on May 16th, 1955
From Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Unemployed single mother Dawn Anna Townsend (Debra Winger) is struggling to support her four kids, but catches a break when she's hired as a teacher and then meets and falls for kindhearted Bink (Alex Van). However, her lucks turns bad when it is discovered that she has a brain tumor and must face a difficult operation to have it removed. After her surgery, Dawn Anna makes a slow recovery and settles into family life with Bink and her kids -- but there is more tragedy and heartache still ahead.
Martha Horgan (Debra Winger) is a withdrawn, mentally disabled woman who lives with her aunt, Frances (Barbara Hershey). One of Martha's unusual traits is that she doesn't lie, a quality that leads to her getting fired from a dry-cleaning shop thanks to the actions of the shifty Getso (David Strathairn). Conflict seems to follow Martha, since she also becomes romantically involved with local fix-it man, Mackey (Gabriel Byrne), who is sleeping with Frances as well.
After moving to Pasadena, Texas, country boy Bud Davis (John Travolta) starts hanging around a bar called Gilley's, where he falls in love with Sissy (Debra Winger), a cowgirl who believes the sexes are equal. They eventually marry, but their relationship is turbulent due to Bud's traditional view of gender roles. Jealousy over his rival, Wes (Scott Glenn), leads to their separation, but Bud attempts to win Sissy back by triumphing at Gilley's mechanical bull-riding competition.