On a busy Coney Island beach two mothers meet and become friends when their daughters become playmates at the beach. Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) is a young widow with dreams of becoming an actress. She struggles to make ends meet balancing auditions and meetings with agents, and caring for her daughter Susie (Terry Burnham, age 6; Sandra Dee, age 17). Annie Johnson’s (Juanita Moore) husband abandoned her and their daughter Sarah Jane (Karin Dicker, age 8; Susan Kohner, age 19). She has been unable to find a job, and the two are now homeless. As an African-American, Annie struggles to raise her fair-skinned daughter who longs to fit in the white world. Lora offers for Annie and her daughter to stay temporarily at her small apartment. Days turn into years as the woman become friends and each others support.