Ruthless stage mother Rose Hovick propels her two children, June and Louise, through the dying years of vaudeville. Along the way, Rose connives to keep the act alive, but when June finally abandons both mother and act, Rose is left with the musically untalented Louise. Rose and Louise, now on a downward spiral, eventually land in the tawdry world of burlesque, where Louise unexpectedly finds her niche and becomes star stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. In the end, having achieved half her goals, Rose is left alone, having alienated everyone.


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