Laura Carlson is a well-to-do matron whose oldest daughter dies. The girl was always Laura's favorite; the remaining children, though not unaffected by the loss, hope that now their mother will pay some attention to them. Instead, Laura's grief threatens to shatter her already shaky relationship with her younger offspring. She virtually shuts the kids out of her life in order to finish her older daughter's uncompleted book. To My Daughter was unofficially based on the career of real-life writer Nancy Lynn Schwartz, who did indeed die before completing her history of the Screen Actors' Guild, obliging her mother to finish the job.