Young Ju Park and her family move from Korea to California. During the flight, they fly so high she concludes they are on their way to Heaven, that Heaven must be in America; where her grandfather is. She is disappointed when she learns that isn’t true.Trying to console her, Uncle Tim suggests that America can be "a step from Heaven." America presents problems for the family. Her father becomes depressed and violent drowning his anger in alcohol. Jobs and money are scarce. Ju's father becomes physically and verbally abusive. In a wrenching climactic scene, her father beats her mother. Soon, he goes away and the family begins to heal.