East Berlin, 1988 — A man is questioned and accused of being Yuri Gurka, a man who strangled his girlfriend Helga Albrecht. His reasoning is that Yuri Gurka is listed as the man who lives in the apartment where this man says he lives. The man denies being Yuri, but the officer does not believe him, insisting that the state cannot be wrong and that the man is “telling stories.” He insists on the truth. We zoom in on a painting of a snowy landscape on the wall behind him.
In Minnesota 2010, Emmit the parking lot king talks business with his colleagues including his righthand man Sy at his 25th wedding anniversary to his wife Stella. Emmit and Sy are trying to ask a man who referred them to a company how they can get in touch with sad company — they've tried to call the number repeatedly but can't get through or leave a message.
Emmit gives a toast to his wife Stella, recalling how they met when Stella used to live in the same apartment as Emmit for three years before he did. They have a daughter Grace who is married to a man named Dennis. Emmit’s portly younger brother Ray and Ray’s girlfriend Nikki attend the party, looking not entirely pleased to be there. Ray is given five minutes with his brother.
Ray tells Emmit that he’s getting married to his girlfriend Nikki, one of his parolees. Ray asks Emmit for money to buy an engagement ring for Nikki, telling Emmit that he still owes Ray for having tricked him out of his stamp collection (bequeathed from their father) when they were boys. As Ray recalls it, Emmit begged him to take the “stupid stamps” and give him the Corvette instead. Ray still has the Corvette, but the stamps ended up getting Emmit a lot of money.
Emmit refuses to give Ray the cash or his old stamp back. Nikki is peeved when Ray tells her that he didn’t get it. They leave the party in the beat up old Corvette. Nikki tries to convince Ray to sign a form to let her leave the state, as her parole officer, to go make money at a bridge tournament. He’s hesitant because legally they aren’t even supposed to be dating.
A young boy marks produce and works with an older man, his grandfather, at Red Owl Market. The boy’s mother, police chief Gloria Burgle, arrives to pick him up. They agree to see the older man later at his house.
Ray tests the pee of various parolees at his job and hears them out about why they aren’t actually guilty. Ray tracks down one parolee, Maurice, at a bar to tell him that he failed his drug test. He recruits Maurice to rob his brother of the remaining stamp from the collection, in exchange for Ray taking care of the failed drug test so Maurice doesn’t go back to jail.
Emmit gets a call that he needs to go into the office ASAP to meet with a man from the company they'd been trying to get in touch with. Maurice does drugs and prepares to go rob Emmit, talking on the phone with his shrink as he drives there. He tells the shrink that his parole officer was mean to him earlier and it made him feel bad. As they’re talking, Emmit’s address blows away and out the window. Maurice isn’t able to find it but says “screw it.”n
VM Varga, who works with Narwhal, was shown into Emmit’s office by Sy. When Emmit gets there, he and Sy try to talk to Varga about repaying the short term loan of $1 million they took via his broker Mr. Ermentrout last year. Varga tells them that it was an investment not a loan. Varga refuses to entertain Emmit’s pleas to pay the money back, instead telling him in no uncertain terms that his company will now be used as a front for his business' illegal activities.
Gloria celebrates her son Nathan's birthday with her son and her stepfather “Pops” at Pops’ place. Ennis is a crotchety old man who likes to drink too much and makes a model for the boy’s birthday. Gloria reminds her son that he’s with his dad (who recently divorced her to be with a man named Dale) for the weekend.
Nikki and Ray roll up to a competitive bridge tournament. Ray is a bit distracted wondering how Maurice’s “job” is going. Meanwhile, Maurice tries to remind himself of his target’s name and address but can’t quite recall it. He gets the address wrong and heads towards Ennis' town, Eden Prairie.
Maurice goes into a gas station and rips a page out of the yellow pages to find the address. Ennis, meanwhile, has fallen asleep on the chair in front of his TV. Nathan left his little wood carving behind. Pops drinks straight from the bottle. Nathan realizes that he left the model behind. They turn to head back to Pops’ to go get it.
Gloria finds the door wide open, becoming alarmed. She finds the house in disarray and doesn’t see Ennis. She finds her stepfather tied to a chair and dead. Her son shows up inside and she quickly ushers him back into the car, locking him in and telling him to radio for backup.
She takes her shotgun and searches the house for the perpetrator, who's already long gone. She realizes that the robber was looking for something. She comes across a hidden compartment under a floorboard, with a box in it. She opens the box and finds books. One of the covers matches the little model he made.
Nikki and Ray happily celebrate their bridge winnings, having placed third runner up. They’re watched from a distance by someone smoking in a car. They sit in a candle-lit bath together, both on their phones. They talk about how well they did at bridge before being interrupted by Maurice barging in.
Maurice tells Ray that he got the goods but that it didn’t go too well for the guy who resisted. Ray realizes that Maurice went to the wrong place and killed a random old man. Ray attacks Maurice for having gotten some random stuff and made a mess of things. Maurice pulls a gun on Ray and demands $5,000 from him as hush money.
Nikki, still naked in the bath, sweet talks Maurice. While Maurice is distracted, Ray unsuccessfully tries to wrestle the gun away from him. Ray tries to explain to Nikki, but she ignores him, instead counting and dismantling her window air conditioner. They time it perfectly so the air conditioner falls and kills Maurice as he’s smoking outside the apartment.
Nikki snaps into action, telling Ray their cover story and making him leave so Maurice isn’t traced back to him. She calls the cops and claims that the air conditioner accidentally fell out.
Back at Ennis’ house, the Sheriff and her son wait as officers investigate. Her ex and his boyfriend come to pick him up and let him stay with them. The sheriff stays behind to work on the case.