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In February 1969, Hollywood actor Rick Dalton, former star of 1950s Western television series Bounty Law, fears his career is over. Casting agent Marvin Schwarz advises him to make Spaghetti Westerns, which Dalton feels is beneath him. Dalton's friend and stunt double, Cliff Booth – a war veteran who lives in a trailer with his pit bull, Brandy – drives Dalton around town because Dalton's high-functioning alcoholism has resulted in too many DUIs. Booth struggles to find film work since the death of his wife, whom he is rumored to have murdered.
Actress Sharon Tate and her husband, director Roman Polanski, have moved into the house next door to Dalton's. Dalton dreams of befriending the couple to restore his status.