Set in a forgotten section of New Orleans, Purslane Hominy Will (Johansson), a jaded teenage loner, returns to the city of her childhood upon hearing of her mother's death. Expecting to find her mother's house abandoned, Pursy is instead shocked to discover that it is inhabited by two men whose lives took a wrong turn years before. Friends of her mother's, Bobby Long (Travolta), a former literature professor, and his protege/biographer Lawson Pines (Macht) have been firmly rooted in the dilapidated house for years with no intention of leaving. When all three stand their ground, they are forced to try to live together, setting the stage for the story of three people and their unlikely home. As time passes, Bobby, Lawson and Pursy are surprised by the secrets they discover about themselves and their histories, revealing the seemingly small choices that have inextricably intertwined their lives.