Adult American brothers Francis, Peter and Jack Whitman have been estranged from each other since their father Jimmy Whitman's funeral a year ago, the events at the funeral the last straw in what has been their long family dysfunction. Their mother, Patricia Whitman, who has never been there for them, didn't even attend the funeral. She has since abandoned them without a word of her whereabouts. Because of a near death experience of his own, Francis, the ostensibly and ostentatiously wealthy controlling brother, wants them to reconcile, most specifically by taking together a month-long spiritual journey through the Indian subcontinent on the Darjeeling Limited. Despite not trusting Francis and facing current issues of their own, Peter and Jack agree. Peter, who takes things from his family without asking as a matter of what he sees his right, will soon become a father for the first time with his longtime girlfriend Alice. Jack, nursing a broken heart over the break-up with his latest girlfriend, demonstrates his distrust in the process by purchasing an early return ticket home just in case, without telling Francis of that fact. Regardless of what happens with his brothers, Jack may stay the duration and longer as he is attracted to Rita, the female steward on the train, she who is going through her own issues and thus is working on her own agenda, especially related to the head steward. It isn't until they are well on their way that Peter and Jack find out the true reason why Francis chose India and this trip as their reconciliation. And despite the best work of Francis' aide Brendan behind-the-scenes (and sometimes not so behind the scenes) and Francis in ensuring that the trip goes according to plan, Francis' want for them to experience all that life has to offer along the way may affect what happens to that plan, especially related to a group of three other brothers they meet.