Nathan is an aspiring photographer heading toward a bright future in art school in Los Angeles, and wants to capture the real America en route to new beginnings out West. His plan is to drive there from his home in Texas, across the American Southwest, taking pictures along the way of strip malls and boarded-up storefronts. When Nathan's car breaks down, and an out-of-work mechanic named Richard helps him out, and also hitches a ride. Richard is a lovably unkempt motormouth who is simply looking for a connection while he grapples with indecision, past mistakes and dead ends. As they travel through the American Southwest, crossing paths with an assortment of oddball characters, both passengers come alive through the possibilities of the open road.