Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
Four bank robbers are killed during a botched heist, leaving their wives with little means to support themselves. To make matters worse, Jamal Manning, a candidate for alderman in Chicago, threatens Veronica Rawlings, widow of the thieves’ leader Harry, into reclaiming $2 million that was stolen from him in the heist. Veronica contacts the other widows – Linda Perelli, Alice Gunner, and Amanda Nunn – into joining her in the heist. Linda and Alice join, but Amanda doesn’t meet with them due to her newborn baby. Veronica goes by a notebook left behind by Harry for plans of the next heist. They also recruit Linda’s babysitter Belle as their getaway driver.
The ladies learn that the heist is set to be at the home of Jack Mulligan, who is running against Jamal for alderman. It also turns out that Harry faked his death and double-crossed his crew, having been tasked by Jack to steal from Jamal. Adding to this, he was having an affair with Amanda, and the baby is his.
The heist takes place after Veronica blackmails the CEO of the Mulligans’ security company into giving them codes to the safe. They steal the money but are nearly caught by Tom, Jack’s father. He shoots Alice, but Linda shoots and kills him. The money is then taken by Jamal’s brother Jatemme, but the ladies kill Jatemme and get the money back. Veronica is then faced by Harry, who plans to steal the money from her, but she shoots and kills him, then plants the gun used to kill Tom in his hand.
Jack wins by way of sympathy votes for Tom’s death. The ladies take their shares of the money to better their lives, though Veronica gives her share to help fund a library project in her late son’s memory.
Harry Rawlings, a renowned thief, is killed alongside his partners during a botched robbery. His widow Veronica is threatened by crime boss Jamal Manning, from whom Harry and his partners stole $2 million. Jamal needs the money to finance his campaign for alderman of a South Side ward, where he is running against Jack Mulligan, the next-in-line of a dynastic family who have historically dominated the alderman position. Veronica discovers Harry’s notebook which contains a detailed plan for a heist in the sum of $5 million.
She decides to carry out the plan to repay her debt to Jamal, and recruits two of the other widows, Alice and Linda, to assist her. The fourth widow, Amanda, does not show at their initial meeting; when Veronica visits Amanda and notices Harry’s flask on a table, she deduces that Harry is the father of Amanda’s newborn child. Devastated by Harry’s infidelity, Veronica leaves. Alice acquires Glock pistols and a getaway van at a car auction while Linda is tasked with deciphering a blueprint in Harry’s plan. Alice uses a real estate executive with whom she is in a transactional relationship to identify the blueprint as a safe in Jack Mulligan’s home.
When Veronica’s loyal chauffeur Bash is murdered by Manning’s crew, Linda recruits Belle, her children’s babysitter, to be their driver. Veronica visits the Mulligan home to ask Jack for protection from Manning—a request he rebuffs—and to case the premises in advance of the heist, while Belle is busy scanning the property for cameras and security guards. Veronica acquires the code to the safe by blackmailing the CEO of the Mulligans’ security company, using incriminating photos left in Harry’s notebook.
The heist begins but the women are startled when Jack’s father Tom appears and shoots Alice, badly wounding her. Linda quickly returns fire and shoots Tom dead. They obtain access to the safe and escape with the money, but are caught by Jamal’s brother Jatemme, who subsequently steals it from them. The group chases down Jatemme, ramming his van off the road into a median, killing him, and retrieves the money. The group then splits up and goes their separate ways, with Veronica returning to the hideout. Harry, who had faked his death and set up his partners after being hired by Jack, arrives at the hideout to steal the money from Veronica so that he can build a new life with Amanda. Veronica shoots Harry dead before he can kill her first.
Jack wins the position of alderman on a wave of public sympathy following his father’s murder. Linda reacquires the store that had been seized from her after her husband’s death left her with large debts. Alice sets up her own business, while Belle moves away. With Manning no longer a threat, Veronica donates the bulk of her share to improve the school library to honor the memory of her deceased son. Veronica and Alice happen upon one another in a diner. They initially ignore each other, but Veronica warmly greets Alice outside.
The film opens by introducing the main characters, shown alongside a heist taking place. Veronica (Viola Davis) and Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson) are happily married. Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Carlos Perelli (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) own a shop and have two children, Xavy (Alejandro Verdin) and Gracie (Bailey Walters), though it appears that Linda bears the heavier workload. Alice Gunner (Elizabeth Debicki) is abused by her husband Florek (Jon Bernthal), though he attempts to make it up by being sweet and sincere afterwards. Jimmy Nunn (Coburn Goss) kisses his wife Amanda (Carrie Coon) goodbye. The four men are seen being pursued by police after completing their heist. They make it to their safe house as a whole squad of cops follow them there. Just as the thieves are attempting to exit, the cops shoot at their car until the thieves’ van explodes, killing all four men. We then see Veronica waking up alone.
Chicago – Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell) is running for the alderman position of the 18th ward. His father Tom (Robert Duvall) is a former political victor who hopes his son will follow in his footsteps. Running against Jack is Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry). Jack visits Jamal’s campaign office, which is in a church, to essentially butt heads. Tom firmly demands that Jack win and to not be the first in their family to lose to a black man.
The women have to bury their husbands. Veronica attends Harry’s funeral, where his remains are laid to rest beside their late son Marcus (Josiah Sheffie). Jack is in attendance, and he tells Veronica that he knew Harry very well, so he offers his services to her if she needs him. Jamal and his brother Jatemme (Daniel Kaluyya) also watch the service from afar. Amanda and Alice attend the funerals of their respective husbands. Linda is at home and tries to console Carlos’s mother Lita (Socorro Santiago), but she blames Linda for what happened to Carlos because she claims that he got into that life to support her and the kids, and now his blood is on Linda’s hands.
Veronica is visited by Jamal that evening. He tells Veronica that Harry stole $2 million from him, which is money he needs to fund his campaign. Jamal forcefully holds Veronica’s small dog Olivia by the collar to prove he’s not messing around. He orders Veronica to come up with the money within two weeks.
Linda goes to her shop to find men repossessing everything inside. When she demands an explanation, she’s told that Carlos was the one who handled the lease on the store, and because he was down on payments, the store no longer belongs to Linda. Meanwhile, Alice’s mother Agnieska (Jackie Weaver) suggests that she support herself by becoming an escort. When Alice says she won’t do it, Agnieska smacks her.
Veronica visits someone over lewd photos involving a man having sex with a younger woman, clearly intended to blackmail him. She then goes to a bowling alley to meet a man named Bobby Welsh (Kevin J. O’Connor), who hands her a notebook left by Harry that details all of his heist activities. Veronica learns that Harry’s next heist involved stealing $5 million.
At a nearby gymnasium, Jatemme’s guys find two young men rapping and bring them to Jatemme. They were responsible for guarding Jamal’s money that was stolen. Jatemme orders them to rap again before he executes them.
Jack is at a rally for an organization of his called Minority Women of Work, in which he sees that women of color can get their businesses off the ground. He is pressed by one reporter over another less ethical practice of his, and he walks away with his aide Siobhan (Molly Kunz). As they are being driven away, Jack complains to Siobhan about his insecurities running against Jamal and the pressure being faced by his father, but Siobhan simply tells him to suck it up.
Veronica contacts the other three widows and arranges to meet them at a spa. Linda and Alice show, but Amanda doesn’t. Veronica informs the other two about the situation regarding Jamal and how Harry left behind plans for the next heist. Although hesitant, Linda and Alice reluctantly agree to join when Veronica emphasizes how much of a threat the Mannings will be to them and their families.
Jamal visits a church to speak to Reverend Wheeler (Jon Michael Hill) for an endorsement, though he appears to already be siding with the Mulligans. Jatemme also visits Bobby at the bowling alley to attack and torture him for information regarding Harry’s notebook, which he says he gave to Veronica. He later calls Veronica to ask if she sold it, and she lies and says she did.
At a nearby hair salon, Belle (Cynthia Erivo) watches as her boss Breechelle (Adepero Oduye) has to give up money to a large man sent by his boss. Belle presses Breechelle for doing so, but she explains that she has to give up a cut of her earnings to the ones who allow her to keep her business afloat, namely Jack Mulligan. After work, Belle returns home to her mother Suzette (Lily Mojekwu) and daughter Bailee (Bailee Brewer), only to get a call about another job, prompting her to leave immediately and rapidly run to catch the bus. She arrives at Linda’s home to babysit her children. Linda goes to join Veronica and Alice at their husbands’ old hideout where Veronica gives them money to get guns and a getaway van. She also gives them the blueprints for the heist.
Alice goes to an auction to get a van and ends up paying more money than it’s worth. To make things more difficult, Alice tells Veronica she can’t drive, so Veronica plans to recruit Harry’s old driver Bash (Garrett Dillahunt). Alice then goes to get guns and has a woman help her buy guns since she doesn’t have the proper documents to purchase firearms. At the same time, Linda attempts to figure out the blueprints to the heist, but she can’t make out the word on the paper. She visits a man whose house she believes to be the mark by posing as someone working for a company that owns the house, but she slips up when she mentions the man’s wife, whom he says has been dead for four months. Linda breaks down when she mentions her dead husband. She and the man start kissing before Linda realizes it’s wrong and she leaves. Linda later joins Alice as the two go to a shooting range to practice. Alice does well, but Linda turns out to be a lousy shot.
Alice joins the escort site and starts seeing a man named David (Lukas Haas). He turns out to be a real estate executive and spots the blueprints in Alice’s room, which he identifies as being part of the Mulligan home.
Veronica finally meets with Amanda in a diner. She mentions not being able to meet with Veronica previously due to taking care of her newborn baby. Because of this, Veronica chooses not to mention anything involving the heist.
One week before the heist is to take place, the Mannings visit Bash and murder him. Veronica finds out and tells the ladies that they need a new driver. Linda notices how fast Belle is, so she invites her to join the heist. Despite Veronica’s initial reservations, she agrees to let Belle join due to her take-no-shit attitude.
Veronica visits Jack to ask for help with Jamal, though he tells her there’s nothing he can do, and that he learned from his father and Harry that you reap what you sow. While Veronica talks to Jack, the other ladies scope out the outside area to get a view of the external security. They also spend time at the hideout practicing how they will move the money around and how fast they need to move.
Veronica goes to Amanda’s apartment with Olivia to talk to her, but she is held up by her baby. Olivia then goes to a nearby closet and starts barking. Veronica looks over on the table and sees a flask…which looks just like the one that belonged to Harry. Veronica walks over to the door, wanting to open it and not have what she’s thinking confirmed, but she grabs Olivia and leaves before Amanda comes back out. Amanda goes to the closet and speaks to the man inside…and it’s HARRY. Veronica drives away feeling overwhelmed.
A flashback then shows how Harry set up his guys with a decoy in the driver’s seat, and he fired two shots to get the police to fire at the van just before he set off explosives to obliterate his men. Next we see Hary on a boat with Jack, as they have been working together, and Jack had ordered Harry to steal from Jamal. Another flashback shows how strained things got between Veronica and Harry just before the last heist took place. We then see back to 2008 when Marcus was driving and did an illegal U-turn to go back home and deliver something to Harry. He was pulled over by a cop and almost quickly shot to death when Marcus failed to show his hands. This broke Harry and left him desperate.
Tom meets with Jack over Jack firing the campaign manager that’s been with their family for thirty years. Tom curses Jack out and orders him to have Siobhan rehire the man, but Jack tells him that he can’t wait for the day that he doesn’t have to talk to him anymore since Tom won’t be there.
Just before the heist takes place, Veronica finds Ken (Matt Walsh), the CEO of the Mulligans’ security company, and the man in the lewd photos she acquired earlier. They are of him with his niece. With her putting him in a corner, Ken gives Veronica the codes to the Mulligans’ safe.
The ladies then gather for the heist later that evening. Belle distracts the security guards outside by firing flares into nearby cars. Veronica, Linda, and Alice get inside with masks and devices that disguise their voices. They make it to the safe and take all of the money, but just as they head out, Tom emerges from his room with his gun and orders the women to drop theirs. He unmasks Veronica and shoots Alice in the shoulder, wounding her, but Linda shoots and kills Tom. The ladies run out of the house and head to the van, only to find Belle held at gunpoint by Jatemme, who was sent by Jamal to take ALL the money. Jatemme hijacks the van, but the ladies give chase and ram the back of the van, causing Jatemme to crash and die. Linda then takes Alice to the hospital to get treated for her wound.
Veronica goes back to the hideout and finds Harry there. She breaks down, angry over his betrayal. He attempts to justify what he did as him having to look out for himself and his new family (Amanda and their baby). Harry turns to kill Veronica, but she shoots him dead first with the gun that Linda used to kill Tom. Veronica leaves the gun in Harry’s hand and leaves with the money.
Later on, it’s heard that Jack won the election by way of sympathy votes for Tom’s death. Breechelle then goes into her salon and finds a bag of money left behind by Belle. She is outside with Bailee as they drive off to start a new life together. Alice is now planning to start her own business, while Linda is able to buy back the shop with her kids.
Alice goes to a diner to meet a friend, and she sees Veronica sitting at a nearby table. A man then enters and sits with Veronica. She gives him a large sum of her share of the money to the man so that he can help build a library, and she requests that it be named after Marcus. Afterwards, Veronica follows Alice outside and greets her warmly.