The Only Thrill is a tragic romance between a used-clothing store owner and a woman who works for him. Reece McHenry (Sam Shepard) has been managing a small clothing store, trying to get by and make sense of his life. He is married to a woman who is lost in a coma with no promise of recovery, but he refuses to give up on her. So serious are his marriage vows, he refuses to pursue the romance that is obviously kindling between him and his employee, Carol Fitzsimmons (Diane Keaton), a seamstress. This goes on for years. In the meantime, Reece's son falls in love with Carol's daughter. Reece can't bear the thought of watching his son go through years of the same kind of agony, so he urges his son to pursue his own romantic interests. The result is a a dynamic near-romance that must live itself out vicariously through the next generation.