Based on the title character introduced in James M. Cain's classic 1941 novel, the five-part miniseries stars Kate Winslet as young mother Mildred Pierce, who struggles to make a new life for her and her two daughters after divorcing her husband. Searching for work during the Depression proves troublesome until Mildred meets a waitress named Ida, who works at a local diner. With Ida's help, Mildred, a talented baker, begins selling her homemade pies at the diner. Soon she is operating her own chicken and pie restaurant, and then other eateries too. But while business is booming, Mildred's personal life is not, leading to a regrettable confrontation between her and daughter Veda.