In 1978, in Los Angeles, the alcoholic smoker and gambler private investigator Carson Philips is hired to investigate the lack of news from the wealthy Barbara Poole, who is patient from the a mental institution in his hometown Galveston. Carson is reluctant to go, but his debts with sharks associated to the large amount that his client is paying help him to decide to go. Carson Philips is a former football player that left his town in disgrace after throwing a match. He also left his girlfriend Jayne Hunt behind. Along his investigation, Carson meets the mysterious Dr. Miles Mitchell, who runs the mental facility, and the mob kingpin Doc, who owns most of Galveston. When the famous player Happy Chandler, who is married with Jayne's daughter Becky Hunt, dies during a game, Carson Philips uncovers dark secrets in the town.