When the trailer delivery man arrives, Ray tries to get him to leave half of the trailer. It is the second time he has come out and his frustration and Ray’s mirror each other, only, literally, from different sides of the “coin.” The struggle for money is the consuming preoccupation of these people living on the edge of America’s physical and fiscal outskirts. Even the name of the store where Ray works, the “Yankee One Dollar,” emphasizes the importance of the need for a bargain to save some cash. Ray has been employed there for two years, and she was promised that she would be given full-time status after six months. But her boss, despite her the length of time there and always being on time, considers Ray to be a short-timer who is not commited. Her employer just wants to exploit her. For Ray, living by society’s rules has only short-changed her. When Ray stops for gas, she can only find $2.74 in her pocket, and is thrilled when she discovers an extra $5 in her clothes. For dinner, her children eat Tang and popcorn. She rummages through the sofa to find loose change for her boys’ lunch money. Her young son, Ricky, (James Reilly), asks what will happen to their old trailer once they get the new one. She tells him that it will be flattened, sent to China, and made into toys that she will probably sell at the Yankee One Dollar. This little tale shows how Americans are exploited in the world of commerce as they will wind up paying for the same objects twice, once when they are new and again when they are discarded. It also points out how marginal is their existence. Such is the deprived world in which Ray and her family live.
Her son, T.J. (Charlie McDermott) tries to fix the merry-go-round, not so his brother, Ricky, can enjoy playing on it, but so that he can sell it to make money. He is fifteen-years-old, and wants to get a job to help out. But his mother refuses because she doesn’t want him to have to grow up too quickly and lose the chance at enjoying his youth before taking on the burdens of a grown-up. T.J. uses a blowtorch to try and fix the children’s ride, but Ray chastises him about the danger involved (a bit of foreshadowing of what is to come). The runaway dad gave the torch to his son, and he wants to use it, because it is his way of holding onto the hope for the return of his errant father. T.J. yells at his mother for getting on his father too much about turning over his paycheck to her and going to rehab meetings. She reminds him that her husband is an “addict” when it comes to gambling, but his affliction also points to an attempt at finding alternate means to get money when it is so difficult to get ahead financially.
Lila now has glasses, and is able to work at the bingo hall again, which shows how she now wants to be independent. The incident with the baby has shaken her up, and she does not want to do any more smuggling. But, Ray wants to do one more run, and she promises Lila that she can have Ray’s car and gun afterwards. This job goes badly. When the Canadian tries to shortchange them, Ray pulls out her gun, and gets the money from him. But, she is nicked by a bullet as they escape. Troopers chase them, and Ray and Lila must abandon the car as it cracks the ice when they try to cross the river, literally and figuratively ending their crime spree, and signaling the climax of the story. Lila, Ray, and the illegals flee to the Mohawk reservation. The troopers follow them there, and say they need the return of the illegals and Lila, who was known to them before for smuggling cigarettes. The council decides to expel Lila for five years, which means she will not be able to see her son start to grow up. At first Ray says she has to leave, and is sorry about what is happening to Lila, but says at least someone is taking care of her child, while she is the only one who can provide for her kids.
The next film is Thank You for Smoking.