Evelyn Ryan (Julianne Moore) is a housewife with 10 children and is married to her volatile husband Kelly. Evelyn has a knack for writing catchy jingles for a variety of products in the 1950s and helps support her family with her winnings which include cash, toys, household machines, trips and cars. While Kelly does everything to support his family, he very often spends his paycheck on alcohol. Evelyn finds out that Kelly has defaulted on a second loan to their home and it looks like they will lose everything. Meanwhile Evelyn had entered a contest for a Dr. Pepper jingle and the day the family is moving out is when she gets the call that she has won, beating out 250,000 other entries. They cash in most of the prizes for the money and are able to save their home, however she and Kelly do take the prize winning trip to Texas on Dr. Pepper’s dime.
Years later, all of the Ryan children have grown and moved out and when Kelly dies, he leaves Evelyn with all of his pension savings so that she never has to worry about money again. Evelyn dies years later, the Dr. Pepper contest being the last one she ever entered and leaves a wonderful legacy for her children.