Cal Chetley (Devon Graye), an extremely bright, undersized fifteen year-old is an outsider in the blue collar town of Sallisaw, Oklahoma known for its high school wrestling program. His older brother Mike (John Cena), a one-time high school wrestling champion with whom Cal is estranged, left Cal and his mother Sharon (Patricia Clarkson) behind years ago after the tragic car accident killed their father.
Sharon is grieving the loss of her husband while struggling with an estranged, older son and a bright, socially isolated younger son, the latter of whom is determined to put his family back together. With the encouragement of Harry Red Newman (Danny Glover), a charming, albeit mysterious man who has a way of showing up in Cal's life just when he needs him most, Cal joins the high school wrestling team in the hopes his brother will train him. What ensues is an emotional journey about a Cal's drive to find success in the ring and his unwavering pursuit to reunite his family.