Lizzie (Christina Ricci) and sister Emma (Clea DuVall) break out of their Victorian comfort zone at a debauched bohemian party in New York City. En route home, Lizzie saves a street prostitute (Kimberly-Sue Murray) from a vicious beating, then gives the scared young woman refuge in her own house. But her charity incurs the wrath of notorious local gangster, Mr. Flowers (Jonathan Banks). A surprise visit by a dashing New York playwright (Frank Chiesurin) is an amusing distraction as he plies his charm to convince Lizzie to finance his latest work. Pinkerton agent Siringo (Cole Hauser) turns up fresh evidence that further incriminates Lizzie, while a sordid encounter between the hooker and the writer leads Lizzie to mediate the problem in her unique way.