A provocative Southern tale set in rural Alabama in the late 1950s, HOUNDDOG is the story of a spirited young girl LEWELLEN (Dakota Fanning) and her struggle to rise above the repression that surrounds her.
Lewellen lives with her stern religious zealot grandmother, GRAMMIE (Piper Laurie), but spends most of her time down the hill with her much-adored DADDY (David Morse) in his falling down shack. Daddy is wild and rough and frequently brings home a beautiful but troubled woman (Robin Wright Penn) who has a mysterious history with him and comes and goes when his drink and abuse become too much for her. But while she's around, Lewellen's longing heart reaches for her love.
Lewellen is deeply talented and finds comfort and safety, as well as a place to put her hurt and rage, in the music of Elvis Presley. When Elvis Presley comes to town for a concert, Lewellen is desperate to go but has no money for a ticket. Her best friend, Buddy, trying to get her a ticket, arranges for her to do her Elvis impersonation for a local teenager in exchange for tickets to the concert. During the impersonation, the teenager attacks Lewellen and steals her innocence.
The attack leaves Lewellen feeling alone and hopeless. It is only the caretaker CHARLES (Afemo Omilami) who can see the spirit in Lewellen and save her soul. He teaches her to use The Blues, to turn her tragedy into a gift. Lewellen ultimately finds her true voice, giving her the strength and courage to walk away from her past and into her future.