The Blue Yonder Inn is a recasting of the "mother-daughter conflict" story in which Darnelle, a fortyish gun-packing loner is fighting to keep her sullen, teenage niece, Bonnie Blue, out of trouble. Darnelle owns and operates the Blue Yonder Inn, a pay-by-the-hour roadside motel that caters to airmen, prostitutes, and visitors to the state penitentiary. Though the Inn, Darnelle, and Bonnie are scorned by the town, Darnelle, unfazed by the opinions of others, turns her attention to flowers, creating a West Texas Garden of Eden in front of the Inn. The beauty of the garden, however, can do nothing to disguise the difficulties in the relationship between Darnelle and Bonnie, which eventually spawn a rough journey of growth for Bonnie taking her through an abusive marriage, the abandonment of her infant son on Darnelle's doorstep, and an epic journey to California to refashion her life according to Seventeen magazine. As the story ends, Bonnie and Darnelle come to understand that life doesn't come from the pages of a magazine, and that family ties are forged by hand, not by blood.