In front of his 15-year-old son, a father loses his temper and strikes his younger daughter, thinking she's trying to run away from him. Jump ahead ten years: the dad is dead, the mom is gone, and the son, Luke, is raising his now grown sister, Annie. He's overprotective, and she seems blood simple, a coquette and an innocent. He runs the diner in town, and one day, Lisa, a callow writer-to-be, comes through from Manhattan, keeping a journal, looking for interesting people. She takes a shine to Annie and then to the muscular and well-read Luke. But what is their secret, how many of the townsfolk are in on it, and what will Lisa do when it all becomes clear?
84 years later, a 101-year-old woman named Rose DeWitt Bukater tells the story to her granddaughter Lizzy Calvert, Brock Lovett, Lewis Bodine, Bobby Buell and Anatoly Mikailavich on the Keldysh about her life set in April 10th 1912, on a ship called Titanic when young Rose boards the departing ship with the upper-class passengers and her mother, Ruth DeWitt Bukater, and her fiancé, Caledon Hockley.
In honor of his birthday, San Francisco banker Nicholas Van Orton, a financial genius and a coldhearted loner, receives an unusual present from his younger brother, Conrad -- a gift certificate to play a unique kind of game.