In True West, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard puts a spin on sibling rivalry; It's more like sibling envy. The action centers on two adult brothers: Austin, a screenwriter on the verge of a big break; and his older brother, Lee, a ne'er-do-well desert rat. Lee wants in on what he imagines is the glamorous life style for which Austin will be headed. Austin longs for the freedom of life on the desert, the connection to the True West that Austin thinks that Lee has and that Austin lacks.
Lee gets an in with Austin's Hollywood producer, and Austin begins to pick up Lee's bad personal habits: drinking and petty theft. In the course of becoming each other, the fellas manage to trash their absent mother's suburban home. Then, Mom suddenly comes home from vacation early, in what will be a real test of a mother's unconditional love.