When her boyfriend is arrested for marijuana possession, Joleen Reedy (Charlize Theron) and her 11-year-old daughter, Tara (AnnaSophia Robb), take refuge with Joleen's aimless brother, James (Nick Stahl). Joleen soon runs off with a truck driver, and James is unable to meet his responsibilities. After Child Protective Services takes possession of Tara, James abducts her from a foster home, and the two travel from California to Utah, where his abusive father (Dennis Hopper) lives.
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