For 48 years, Ethel and Norman Thayer have summered at their cabin on Golden Pond. Their New England home is filled with memorabilia, reflecting their long history on the lake, and life with their daughter, Chelsea. However, this summer becomes a season of conflict. Chelsea, now a forty-ish divorcee, and deeply distanced from her father, has come to visit with her new lover, Bill and his tough young son, Billy. These three generations are about to collide, with only the witty and buoyant Ethel between them.Chelsea and Bill announce that they are taking a trip to Europe, and ask Ethel and Norman to take care of young Billy. Both Ethel and Norman are more than a little uncertain about their new roles as grandparents. And what begins as a stubborn battle of wills between Norman and Billy, slowly turns into a warm and loving friendship. When Chelsea and Bill return from Europe, Chelsea sees in her father's friendship with Billy, the kind of connection she always wanted with her father. In turn, Norman sees how much he has missed by denying his daughter's love.