Set in a small southern town in the 1950's, Walker Payne tells the story of a man who goes to great lengths to keep his children, even though it could mean the loss of something he dearly loves. After getting laid off from his mining job, Walker Payne (Jason Patric) finds himself out of work, out of money, and unable to see his two young daughters until he gives his ex-wife (Drea de Matteo) the child support money he owes her. But work is scarce and Walker's efforts to raise the money prove futile. Anxious to see his girls and unable even to borrow money from the bank, Walker is in a desperate and vulnerable state when he meets a smooth-talking, opportunistic hustler (Sam Shepard), who gives him the opportunity to win big money quick. Despite his desperation and the dire circumstances he is in, Walker still says no to the tempting offer. But when his ex-wife's frustration at his inability to get any money reaches a furious high, she threatens Walker with an ultimatum: Either he comes up with $5,000 in cash in exchange for custody of the girls, or he will never see them again. The hustler's offer is now Walker's only way out of an impossible situation, and he is suddenly faced with a heart-wrenching dilemma.